Advertisement

Rates of (Ex)change

Decay and growth, memory and the transformation of the dead in early Neolithic southern Britain
  • Chris Fowler

Abstract

This contribution investigates how specific tempos of activity remind people of their place in the material world. It focuses in particular on the relationship between personhood, change, the dead, and processes of decay and regrowth. It is suggested that human bodies and the bodies of artefacts and places were all repeatedly transformed in complimentary ways during the earlier Neolithic of southern Britain. Incremental and gradual changes applied to each type of body. The repeated transformation of those bodies reminded the living of their place in the material world, their connections with the dead and with other bodies including the bodies of monumental places. These transformative acts both commemorated expected features of social identities and also formed the arena through which those identities could themselves be revised.

Key words

Bodies causewayed enclosures decay earthen long barrows materiality memory transformation tempo 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Reference

  1. Ashbee, P., Smith, I., and Evans, J. 1979. Excavation of three long barrows near Avebury, Wiltshire. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 45: 207–300.Google Scholar
  2. Barraud, C, de Coppet, D., Iteanu, A. and Jamous, R. 1994. Of relations and the dead: four societies viewed from the angle of their exchanges. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
  3. Barrett, J. 1994. Fragments from Antiquity-: An Archaeology of Social Life in Britain, 2900-1200 BC. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  4. Barrett, J. 1988. The living, the dead and the ancestors: Neolithic and Early bronze Age mortuary practices. In Barrett, J. and Kinnes, I. (eds.) The archaeology of context in the Neolithic and Bronze Age. Sheffield: Department of Archaeology and Prehistory, pp. 30–41Google Scholar
  5. Barth, F. 1987. Cosmologies in the making: a generative approach to cultural variation in inner New Guinea. Cambridge Studies in Social Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Battaglia, D. 1990. On the bones of the serpent: Person, memory and mortality in Sabarl society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. Battaglia, D. 1991. The body in the gift: memory and forgetting in Sabarl mortuary exchange. American Ethnologist 19:3–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bloch, M. 1982. Death, women and power. In M. Bloch and J. Parry (eds.) Death and the regeneration of life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 211–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bloch, M. 1989. Death and the concept of the person. In S. Cederroth, C. Corlin and J. Lindstrom (eds.) On the meaning of death. Uppsala: University Press, pp. 11–29.Google Scholar
  10. Bradley, R. and Gordon, F. 1988. Human skulls from the river Thames, their dating and significance. Antiquity 62: 503–9.Google Scholar
  11. Brück, J 1995. A place for the dead: the role of human remains in Late Bronze Age Britain. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Societv 61: 245–277.Google Scholar
  12. Edmonds. M. 1993. Interpreting causewayed enclosures in the past and present. In C. Tilley (ed.) Interpretative Archaeology. Oxford: Berg, pp. 99–142.Google Scholar
  13. Evans, C, Pollard, J. and Knight, M. 1999. Life in woods: tree-throws,’ settlement’ and forest cognition. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 18(3): 241–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fowler, C. 2001. Personhood and social relations in the British Neolithic with a study from the Isle of Man. Journal of Material Culture 6(2): 137–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fowler, C. In preparation. Interpreting personhood in prehistory. Article.Google Scholar
  16. Garton, D., Howard, A. and Pearce, M. 1997. Archaeological investigations at Langford Quarry, Nottinghamshire, 1995-6. Tarmac Papers 1: 29–40.Google Scholar
  17. Hodder, 1.1998. The domus: some problems reconsidered. In M. Edmonds and C. Richards (eds.) Understanding the Neolithic of North-west Europe. Glasgow: Cruithne Press, pp. 84–101.Google Scholar
  18. Hodder, I. 1994. Architecture and meaning: the example of Neolithic houses and tombs. In M. Parker-Pearson and C. Richards (eds.) Architecture and order: approaches to social space. London: Routledge. pp. 73–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Küchler, S. 1987. Malangan: Art and memory in a Melanesian society, Man 22: 238–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Küchler, S. 1993. Landscape as memory: the mapping of process and its representation in a Melanesian society. In B. Bender (ed.) Landscape: Politics and perspectives. Oxford: Berg Press, pp. 85–106.Google Scholar
  21. Morgan, F. de M. 1959. The excavation of a long barrow at Nutbane, Hants. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 25: 15–51.Google Scholar
  22. Munn, N. 1986. The fame of Gawa-a symbolic study of value transformation in a Massim (Papua New Guinea) society. Durham and London: Duke University PressGoogle Scholar
  23. Piggott, S. 1962. The West Kennet long barrow: excavations 1955-6. London: Ministry of Works Archaeological Reports 4.Google Scholar
  24. Pollard, J. 2001. The aesthetics of depositional practice. World Archaeology 33(2): 315–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pollard, J. 1999. ‘These places have their moments’: thoughts on settlement practices in the British Neolithic. In J.Brück, J. and M. Goodman (eds.) Making places in the prehistoric world: themes in settlement archaeology. London: UCL Press, pp. 76–93.Google Scholar
  26. Pryor, F. 1988. Etton, near Maxey, Cambridgeshire: a causewayed enclosure on the fen-edge. In C. Burgess, P. Topping, C. Mordant and M. Maddison (eds.) Enclosures and defences in the Neolithic of Western Europe. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports International Series 403. pp. 107–126.Google Scholar
  27. Ray, K, and Thomas, J. forthcoming. In the kinship of cows: the social centrality of cattle in the earlier Neolithic of Southern Britain. Article.Google Scholar
  28. Sharpies, N. 1984. Excavations at Pierowall Quarry, Westray, Orkney. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries for Scotland 114: 75–125.Google Scholar
  29. Smith, I. 1965. Windmill Hill and Avebury: Excavations by Alexander Keiler, 1925-39. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  30. Thomas, J. 1998a. The social significance of cattle in earlier Neolithic Britain. Paper delivered at Food in the Neolithic conference, University of Sheffield.Google Scholar
  31. Thomas, J. 1998b. An economy of substances in earlier Neolithic Britain. In J. Robb (ed.) Material symbols: culture and economy in prehistory. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University, pp. 70–89.Google Scholar
  32. Thomas, J. 1999. Understanding the Neolithic. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Thomas, J. 2000. The identity of place in Neolithic Britain: examples from south-west Scotland. In A. Ritchie (ed.) Neolithic Orkney in its European Context. Cambridge: McDonald Institute, pp. 79–87.Google Scholar
  34. Tilley, C. 1996.Metaphor and Material Culture. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  35. Whittle, A. 1996. The Neolithic in Europe: the creation of new worlds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Whittle, A., Pollard, J. and Grigson, C. 1998. The harmony of symbols: the Windmill Hill causewayed enclosure. Oxford: Oxbow Books.Google Scholar
  37. Williams, H. 2001. Lest we remember. British Archaeology 60: 20–23.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Fowler
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ManchesterUK

Personalised recommendations