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Settlement and society in the later prehistory of North-East England

Ferrell, Gillian (1992) Settlement and society in the later prehistory of North-East England. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This study examines the evidence for later prehistoric and Romano-British settlement in the four counties of north east England. The aim is to explore the ways in which landscape archaeology can be used to gain an understanding of social interaction. The work is essentially a theoretical study although it derives from a comprehensive survey of the empirical evidence. It stresses the importance of the conceptual framework within which archaeological research is undertaken and aims to show that approaches currently employed in this area fail to explore the full potential of the existing data set. The survey therefore begins with a critical assessment of that data set and the factors both natural and anthropogenic which have affected the existing record. Comprehending the use of space is seen as fundamental to understanding past society. An initial analysis of settlement morphology is developed into a series of studies examining spatial patterning on a variety of scales. Quantitative techniques for the analysis of patterning at inter and intra-site levels are introduced. The observed patterns are seen to relate to social organisation and different social formations across space and time are identified. The idea that the environment and hence the economy, played a deterministic role in the settlement history of this area is rejected. The environmental background and its economic potential are examined in some detail and it is suggested that economic activity was directed by social relations. Observed differences in farming practice throughout the region are discussed in terms of social relations of production and the groupings which emerge show a strong correlation with the social formations identified by spatial analysis. The results of this work serve to build up a picture of the organisation of social groups at the settlement level and their interaction with neighbouring groups. Possible directions for further work are suggested.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1992
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Dec 2012 12:00

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