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Neolithic Britain (Shire Archaeology) [Paperback]

Joshua Pollard
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Sep 2002 Shire Archaeology (Book 75)
Around six thousand years ago major changes occurred in the human occupation of the British Isles, marking the beginning of one of the most fascinating periods in prehistory. Previous lifestyles dependent upon hunting, fishing and gathering were replaced by ones reliant to some degree on horticulture and the keeping of domestic livestock. The sudden appearance of agriculture is only one part of the neolithic story. It was also a time when novel ways of living in and understanding the world developed. The period also marks the advent of new technologies (such as the production of pottery) and new ideologies, seen in the construction of major ceremonial monuments to the living and the ancestral dead. Drawing upon recent discoveries and research, this book provides an introductory outline of the British neolithic (covering the period c.40002500 BC). Aspects of social life and belief are described, along with discussion of the material culture of neolithic communities, and the spectacular evidence of the ceremonial monuments they constructed.Joshua Pollard is a lecturer in Archaeology and Prehistory at the University of Wales College, Newport. He is currently co-director of a major fieldwork project investigating the late neolithic monument complex at Avebury, Wiltshire.

Product details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Shire Publications Ltd (1 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747803536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747803539
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 15 x 0.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 153,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A. Byrnes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are 8 chapters:
- Introduction
- Making A Living
- Material Culture
- Monuments
- Dealings with the Dead
- Times of Change
- Places to Visit
- Further Reading.
There is also an index.

The introduction opens with the vexed subject of how the British Neolithic came about and how it is defined. At around 6000 years ago a major change took place int eh way in which human communities managed the procurement of food. This changed the face of the UK forever as the hunter-gatherer lifestyle was abandoned in favour of farming, accompanied by new social and funerary traditions. Pollard looks at how we define the "Neolithic" and how the perception of this period has changed over the last few decades. He then goes on to examine how and when the principal components that make up the British Neolithic actually occurred, and asks why they occurred. Finally he explains that the remainder of the book is designed to be a brief descriptive and interpretive account of the period, and that the discussion excludes Ireland.

"Making a Living" looks at how the economy of the period operated, beginning with a highly mobile way of tackling land and herds before becoming more sedentary towards the end of the Neolithic. He looks at how the landscape was altered and how even with the introduction of domesticates from overseas the indigenous population still supplemented their diet with wild resources. The evidence for settlement is discussed (remarkably little, probably due to the practice of swidden horticulture). He concludes with a look at social organization and evidence for conflict.

"Material Culture" provides an overview of everyday materials which were used to make items: pottery, stone, antler, wood and bone.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars compact and useful 6 Jun 2001
The neolithic period is associated with the introduction of agriculture , widespread use of ceramics and ground tools. .The account covers Britain but not Ireland which the author recognises as having distinctive features . Countries of the north-west european Atlantic seaboard are characterised by the construction of megalithic monuments and a large part of the book is concerned with 'enclosures', barrows , chambered tombs and cursus monuments ; the nature of all of which is illustrated by clear diagrams . Society appears to have been a mobile one [swidden cultivation]. There is scant evidence of permament settlements but a few individual , and also communal , dwelling places have been uncovered . There is evidence of widespread dissemination of goods , for instance certain styles of ceramic and tools made from material mined in particular localities . A major digging tool was the reindeer horn and where these have been deposited alongside the construction site they have provided useful contribution to carbon dating . There is little evidence of a hewirarchical development in society nor of the plague of widespread warfare . It is toward the end of the 'Beaker period' that particular prominence is attributed to certain individuals . The most astounding feature is the construction of megalithic monuments . The manner of interrment of bodies is another peculiar feature since the body was usually allowed to decompse before burial . Alongside this book I read Hengeworld by Mike Pitts which may also be recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good concise book 22 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent introduction. A good summary and overview. I recommend it to anyone who wants to get acquainted with the subject prior to spending money on other much more expensive texts.
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