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Title: Archaeology of destruction : a reinterpretation of castle slightings in the English Civil War
Author: Rakoczy, Lila
ISNI:       0000 0004 2671 2719
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis addresses the archaeology of destruction and the challenges and opportunities it presents to archaeologists. It primarily focuses on the recording, analysis, and interpretation of destroyed buildings, and how the overall life cycle of these buildings affects our understanding of the destruction evidence. At its core are two fundamental arguments. The first is that the deliberate destruction of a society's material culture is a complex social phenomenon with a variety of causes and effects, all of which deserve to be examined closely by the archaeological community. The second is that the methodological challenges posed are so complex that they require a multidisciplinary approach utilising a range of subjects including-but not limited to-history, structural and explosives engineering, building construction, and conservation. These themes are explored by looking at one particularly misunderstood type of destruction: the slighting of castles in the English Civil War, specifically between 1642 and 1660. While the word 'slighting' is generally used as a synonym for destruction, its application to castles has been problematic as interpretations of what this means vary widely. In the absence of a universally recognised definition, this thesis has provided one: the non-siege, intentional damage during times of war of high status buildings, their surrounding landscape or works, and/or their contents and features. In the course of expanding the definition of slighting, several common assumptions regarding the motivation for slighting are challenged. The most prevalent is that slighting was simply a fiscal and military policy by Parliament to save money and 'deny use to the enemy'. Instead, other social, religious, and political factors are shown to be equally if not more significant causes for destruction, including local rivalries, social climbing, gender tensions, property speculating, and religious turmoil. The conclusion is that communities both benefited and suffered from slighting, and played active roles in instigating, stopping, and interacting with the destruction in their midst.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available