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Aspects of British and Irish Mesolithic and early Neolithic woodworking practice, technology and change with case-studies from south-west Britain

Turner, A. (2023) Aspects of British and Irish Mesolithic and early Neolithic woodworking practice, technology and change with case-studies from south-west Britain. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00113887


This thesis investigates prehistoric woodworking technology, techniques and traditions based on multi-site comparative analysis of assemblages and new data from excavated collections. The timeframe under review is the Mesolithic and early Neolithic periods in Britain and Ireland, with a particular focus on the nature of changing organic material culture during the transition between these periods. This work provides an updated review of the transition debate alongside original synthesis of relevant worked wood assemblages, detailed metric analysis of woodworking evidence from specific case-studies, and a focus on outstanding issues in understanding manufacturing toolmarks on wooden artefacts. In-depth original analysis of data from specific collections has been based on study of two significant primary case-studies; Goldcliff East (Gwent, Wales) and the Sweet and Post tracks (Somerset, England). The opportunity to study these assemblages, some of the material as yet unpublished, has allowed for comprehensive analysis of worked wood artefacts and comparison of wood working traditions in the late Mesolithic southern Wales and early Neolithic south-west England. Results of this analysis revealed the presence of a previously unreported working technique identified in both assemblages, one later Mesolithic, the other initial Neolithic, and has provided a useful mechanism to compare activity across the sites and periods. This in turn led to the development of a programme of experimental archaeology devised to investigate the nature and differences in toolmark morphology produced by different relevant tool types. Such research into prehistoric organic material culture and worked wood assemblages provides a mechanism to test and inform some of the theories and assumptions that have been proposed for these periods in wider archaeological analysis. With the results demonstrating the variety of woodworking skills available to people in the past, and highlighting the nature of resource management and wood selection choices, networks of connectivity, social organisation and specific tool use. By offering new data and understanding of activity, technology and cultural practice over the course of the Mesolithic to early Neolithic in this area of Europe, fresh perspective on the complexity of this important period is provided.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Bell, M. and Hosfield, R.
Thesis/Report Department:Department of Archaeology
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:113887


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