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Title: Reassembling the bronze age : exploring the southern British midden sites
Author: Waddington, Kate
ISNI:       0000 0000 8133 2656
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis explores the Late Bronze Age and Earliest Iron Age midden sites of southern Britain and aims to enhance broader understandings of life during this period of transition (c. 1250 - 600 BC). The varied elements of life were mixed together at these sites, and this interweaving build-up of architectures and residues with seasonal traditions of occupation, created a special sense of place. Considerations of materiality are central to this thesis - such elements were critical to the way in which life in the Bronze Age was constructed and experienced. Through the fine grained analysis of large data-sets, I argue that the relationships, identities and worldviews of the inhabitants of southern Britain were redefined and reassembled at these central places. This thesis produces for the first time a synthesis of these sites across Britain, and it has entailed the excavation of a new midden site recently discovered in the West Midlands. Variations in the extent and depths of the sites, the density and types of finds, stratigraphic make-up, chronologies and settings are explored. The broader context of the later Bronze Age in Britain is discussed, enabling rich histories to be produced and key similarities and differences between different sites to be highlighted. Detailed contextual analyses have been undertaken at the case-study sites of Potterne and Runnymede Bridge, providing an invaluable means for interpreting human action. I have attempted to identify and narrate elements of life - the habits, practices, values, beliefs and emotions - from the various sequences, and to situate these vignettes within the historical processes of the Bronze Age. Anxieties surrounding deteriorating climatic conditions, farming practices and exchange networks contributed to a dramatic shift in some people's worldviews, and ultimately a transformation in the ways that people engaged with animals, materials and place. The increases in depositional practices, particularly of fine and decorated artefacts and metalwork and feasting remnants, do not necessarily reflect the development of new hierarchies or `economic' intensification, but rather a transformation in the ways that values were created, expressed and destroyed. Environments are always being created, and similar to persons, they too are in a constant state of becoming - the micro- and macro-scale analyses presented in this thesis have enabled the exploration of such moments of uncertainty and transition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available