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The interpretation of Mesolithic structures in Britain: new evidence from Criet Dubh, Isle of Mull, and alternative approaches to chronological analysis for inferring occupation tempos and settlement patterns

Mithen, S. and Wicks, K. (2018) The interpretation of Mesolithic structures in Britain: new evidence from Criet Dubh, Isle of Mull, and alternative approaches to chronological analysis for inferring occupation tempos and settlement patterns. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. ISSN 0079-797X (In Press)

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Abstract/Summary

The number of Mesolithic structures known in Britain has significantly increased since 2000, providing new opportunities for economic and social interpretations of this period. We describe a further structure, represented by features from the Mesolithic site of Criet Dubh, Isle of Mull. We compare the inferred Criet Dubh structure to other Mesolithic structures from Britain, notably those described by Waddington & Bonsall (2016) as ‘pit-houses’. We then consider the implications of the radiocarbon dates from such structures for the temp of occupation and past settlement patterns. While the use of Bayesian analysis of radiocarbon dates has encouraged interpretations of prolonged occupation and sedentism, we propose alternative interpretations with patterns of intermittent occupation for Criet Dubh and the pit-houses, involving their re-use of after extended periods of abandonment within a sparsely populated landscape. The ability to debate such interpretations reflects the transformation in Mesolithic research made possible by the discovery of such structures, the use of multiple radiocarbon determinations, the application of Bayesian analysis, and the exploration of associations between cultural and environmental change. These developments have made the Mesolithic a particularly innovative period of study.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:77894
Publisher:Prehistoric Society

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