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Title: The Channel Islands : an archipelago of the Atlantic Bronze and Early Iron Age
Author: Driscoll, Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 8630
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis examines the Channel Islands in the Atlantic Bronze and Early Iron Age and looks at the way islanders defined their own identity and incorporated material culture into existing and emerging social . - structures. It is a study of interaction and the way prehistoric inhabitants of islands engaged with the world around them. Inter-island and island-mainland relations are explored and chronologies for Channel Island later prehistory are refined. In particular, it is proposed that the Early Bronze Age in the Channel Islands does not begin until after 1750/1700 BC, when a series of events are recognised in the archaeological and palaeoenvironmental records. Tumuli are introduced along with specific material culture related to second series barrows of Armorica, contemporary (potentially) with the first bronze hoard. Long term deforestation begins, alongside a rise in the pastoral economy and selective pockets of arable farming. Changing sea levels and improvements in seafaring technology opened up the sea as a mechanism for interaction and enabled islanders to undertake voyages to other places. Such voyages were a way of maintaining alliances, trading goods and gaining knowledge that led to the successful reproduction of Channel Island society. Certainly after 1300 BC the islands become more deeply involved in Atlantic and cross-channel exchange networks as demonstrated by the St Helier Gold Torque and the deposition of bronze hoards of excessive size (three are over 200 pieces each). These hoards also show a divergence from neighbouring French zones through the accumulation of metalwork from a wider geographical area. The ceramic assemblages for the islands show a clear parallel with NW France and in some cases southern Britain. Long term perspectives on the ways islanders impacted on their world are also explored and it is suggested that the intensive process of deforestation that begins to occur in the Early Bronze Age was tempered by sustainable management of the landscape, through a pastoral economy and selective arable farming. This was replaced in the Early Iron Age by aggressive burning strategies and the rapid clearance of land for arable purposes. These activities had a long lasting impact, removing the ancient woodland that had once dominated the prehistoric islands and creating a landscape that was irreversibly altered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available