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Title: From longhouse to stone rows : the competitive assertion of ancestral affinities
Author: Carnes, Alexander
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 3696
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2012
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The centrepiece of this thesis is a comparative study of the stone rows of Dartmoor and northern Scotland, a rare, putatively Bronze Age megalithic typology. It is argued that these should be defined as cairn-and-rows monuments that ‘symbolise’ long mounds, and avenues in the case of Dartmoor — a circumstance that ‘explains’ the interregional similarities; other aspects of their semantic structures are also analysed using rigorous semiotic theory. An evolutionary approach is taken, drawing on biological theory to explain the active role of these monuments in social evolution, and to understand the processes at work in producing long term change in monument traditions. New theory is developed for analysing such archaeological sequences, and for understanding and explaining material culture in general. The concepts of adaptation and environment in archaeological theory to date are criticised, and environmental construction theory, and aspects of the Extended Phenotype theory, are forwarded as alternatives. The local sequences are contextualised by examining European megalithic origins, tracing the long mound ‘concept’ back to the Bandkeramik longhouses. The question of diffusion or convergence is tackled by examining the mechanisms at work during the transitions from longhouse to long mound and then to the cairn-and-rows; the explanations forwarded for the social function of the monuments is integrated with mechanisms for explaining their spread (or ‘diffusion’). It is argued that all of these related forms — longhouses, long mounds, and the cairn-and-rows — are implicated in a process of competitively asserting ancestral affinities, which explains the constraint on cultural variation, and thus the formation of remarkably stable monument traditions, and the convergence between Dartmoor and northern Scotland in the Early Bronze Age.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: CC Archaeology ; G Geography (General) ; GN Anthropology ; H Social Sciences (General)