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Durham e-Theses
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A Place called Home: Understanding Bronze Age (c. 2400-800 cal BC) Settlement in Britain

CASWELL, EDWARD,JAMES (2020) A Place called Home: Understanding Bronze Age (c. 2400-800 cal BC) Settlement in Britain. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (The thesis' text) - Accepted Version
[img]Microsoft Excel (The thesis' dataset - data recorded for each settlement feature)
[img]Microsoft Excel (The thesis' dataset - data recorded for each settlement site) - Supplemental Material
[img]Microsoft Excel (The thesis' dataset - references used for each settlement site)
[img]Microsoft Excel (A supplementary collection of radiocarbon dates identified during the thesis' research) - Supplemental Material
[img]Microsoft Excel (Metadata tables for A1.1 to 1.4) - Supplemental Material


This thesis studies the form, appearance, location and use of Bronze Age (c. 2400-800 cal BC) settlement sites in England, Scotland and Wales. It begins by providing a historiographical review of British Bronze Age settlement studies. This identifies that recent publications favour site specific discussions, while the past regionalised nature of settlement investigation has resulted in new findings often being overlooked. The thesis identifies a gazetteer of 22,000 potential Bronze Age settlement sites known to the historic environment records of England, Scotland and Wales. Compelled by the observation that prior studies have overly relied upon typo-chronological schema to their detriment, it primarily studies those sites associated with radiocarbon dates. It assesses the form of Bronze Age structures within these sites, the periods in which they are used, their location and the features found within them. It studies these using a bespoke database containing 1085 Bronze Age structures from 316 independent sites representing all excavated and radiocarbon dated examples in England, Scotland and Wales. It also draws upon datasets collated during the data collection phase including a gazetteer of 6975 potential Bronze Age settlement sites, 1488 Bronze Age settlement sites that have been excavated although not necessarily radiocarbon dated and a dataset of over 9000 Bronze Age radiocarbon dates.
These analyses demonstrate that the dominant form of architecture is the roundhouse, although this takes many forms across the entirety of Britain. It identifies a boom in the construction of permanent settlement structures at 1700 cal BC, followed by a sharp decrease in settlement several hundred years later. It also finds that the majority of Britain was inhabited during the Bronze Age, although locations appear to be preferred closer to major rivers and the coast. These settlements were often short lived. Over half comprised less than three structures and few show signs of extensive social stratification. It concludes by suggesting the possible activities occurring on these settlement sites and, through the use of several other supporting datasets, demonstrates the value in assembling and analysing a national gazetteer of specific Bronze Age phenomena.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Bronze Age, Britain, Settlement, Roundhouses, Summed Probability Distributions, GIS,
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:27 Jan 2020 15:42

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