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Title: The Bronze Age metalwork of south western Britain
Author: Pearce, Susan M.
ISNI:       0000 0000 8086 8387
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 1981
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This study analyses the available information relating to the typology, chronology, location, character and context of the Bronze Age metalwork of south-western Britain, in conjunction with landscape and other evidence, in order to assess the role of the metalworking industries in society and their relationship to social change. This suggests that during the impact phase (c. 2500-2000 BC) an elite emerged in Wessex, but further west social forms remained those of Neolithic society. Chiefs appeared in Cornwall during the Trenovissick phase (c. 2000-1650 BC), but not in Devon until the Wessex II phase (c. 1550-1450 BC).During the Taunton period (c. 1450-1100 BC), some eight new social groups emerged, each occupying a similar territory which embraced agricultural lowland and upland grazing, focussed upon a central place. Each group comprised families of affinally related clansmen for whom the hoarding and dispersal of bronze wealth provided the social dynamic. This process created a web of obligations which encouraged the emergence of leaders. In the post-Taunton phase (c.1000-800 BC) the bronze weaponry, the goldwork, and the (few) occupied hill tops, show a competative warrior-dominated society. This matches the deterioration of upland, probable population pressure, and the near-absence of bronze axes and ornaments. The old social territories and their clan organization disintegrated, and society became insecure. During the Stogursey and Ham Hill/Cam Brea period (c. 800-500 BC) the metalwork suggests the development of a simple re-distributative economy, which articulated around central hilltop/smithy occupation sites and coastal smithy/trading stations. These may fit into a territorial scheme. This economy mirrors a necessarily more intensive land use, and a sharper division into conmcners and nobles. Stogursey phase developments arose naturally from post Taunton phase society, but the participation of Mediterranean States in the Atlantic metal trade may have contributed to the development cycle.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Archaeology