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Durham e-Theses
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Pits and the architecture of deposition narratives of social practice in the neolithic of North-East England

Edwards, Benjamin (2009) Pits and the architecture of deposition narratives of social practice in the neolithic of North-East England. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This doctoral thesis examines the practice of depositing material culture and its relationship with social change during the Neolithic period in north-east England. For the purposes of this study the Neolithic is defined as the period in which the pottery styles of Carinated Ware, Impressed Ware and Grooved Ware were made and used. The study area encompasses County Durham, Northumberland and the now defunct county of Tyne and Wear. Previous work on Neolithic deposition has been apt to confine it within a series of dichotomous relationships: the potency of material culture versus the power of performance; rubbish versus 'meaningful' material; and the structured versus the unstructured deposit. This study demonstrates how these oppositions are unnecessarily reductive and result from modern classifications of artefacts - norms concerning the value of refuse and the role of 'symbolic' material - that have come to be imposed upon the past. By undertaking a statistical and comparative analysis of deposited material culture from the North-East, this research emphasises the complexity of past artefact classification, and the transformative role that depositional practices can have upon whole societies. It also shows how acts of deposition are intimately connected with architectural forms, be they single posts in pits, or complexes of henges. By utilising a biographical and narrative approach to interpretation, eschewing the search for the 'symbolic' in artefact disposal, the deposition of material culture is exposed as central to the ontological security of Neolithic communities and the built environment that they created.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2009
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:26

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