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Title: The spatial modelling of palaeolithic secondary context assemblages : case studies from the Solent river system and Axe river valley, UK
Author: Chambers, Jennifer Catherine
ISNI:       0000 0001 3526 352X
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2004
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Assemblages of stone tools recovered from high-energy fluvial gravels dominate the Palaeolithic record of Britain, yet they remain understudied due to their perception as indecipherable temporal and spatial palimpsests. Refinements in optical dating and climatically-driven models of terrace formation offer the potential to develop a robust geochronological framework for these Palaeolithic assemblages. It is considered that these advances warrant a reassessment of the methodologies used to determine the spatial derivation of such assemblages. This thesis argues that extant methods of assessing spatial derivation through artifact physical condition are inadequate, as they failed to take account of the heterogeneous nature of the damage artifacts sustain during fluvial transportation. A new recording methodology is therefore proposed that emphasises this observed variability and allows its visual representation. Different types and durations of fluvial movement are related to specific 'signatures' of artifact damage through a dual programme of transportation experiments constructed to examine general fluvial transportation principles identified in the field of hydraulic research. The correlation of experimental and archaeologically observed damage allows the generation of Modelled Artefacts Derivation Distances for individual secondary contexts bifaces. In turn, these distances form the basis for assessing the range of spatial derivation present within a secondary context assemblage through the generation of a Modelled Assemblage Spatial Origins Profile. These techniques are applied to a number of assemblages recovered from the gravels of the Solent River system and the prolific site of Broom in the valley of the River Axe. The results of these case studies demonstrate the applicability of the proposed techniques for both the characterisation of single assemblages and the comparison of multiple assemblages.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available