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3. NEOLITHIC AND EARLY TO MIDDLE BRONZE AGE (c.4000–c.1150 cal BC): RESEARCH AGENDA

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3.1 Dating

3.1.1: How may radiocarbon and other scientific dating methods be applied most effectively to refining the period’s imprecise chronological framework?

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3.1.2: How can we date more precisely the various regional styles of Neolithic and earlier Bronze Age pottery?

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3.1.3: Can we further refine lithic artefact chronologies within the region?

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Status:
Active
Date accepted:
07/10/2019
Date of next review:
07/10/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
East Midlands Historic Environment Research Framework
Categories:
NEOLITHIC
Linked Strategy(s):
Compile database of scientific dates and extend application of Bayesian modelling for radiocarbon dating, Assess the fieldwalking resource

3.1.4: Can we define more precisely the chronology of the major monument classes (causewayed enclosures, barrows and cairns etc), and how might this have varied spatially?

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3.2 Continuity of hunter-gatherer traditions

3.2.1: To what extent may hunter-gatherer subsistence traditions have continued into the Neolithic?

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3.2.2: Can we discern continuities or discontinuities in the distributions of later Mesolithic and earlier Neolithic lithic scatters?

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Status:
Active
Date accepted:
07/10/2019
Date of next review:
07/10/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
East Midlands Historic Environment Research Framework
Categories:
NEOLITHIC, MIDDLE BRONZE AGE, EARLY BRONZE AGE
Linked Strategy(s):
Assess the fieldwalking resource, Develop fieldwalking strategies and guidelines for landscape zones

3.2.3: How may environmental sampling strategies assist in elucidating the transition from later Mesolithic to earlier Neolithic economies?

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Status:
Active
Date accepted:
07/10/2019
Date of next review:
07/10/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
East Midlands Historic Environment Research Framework
Categories:
NEOLITHIC, MIDDLE BRONZE AGE, EARLY BRONZE AGE
Linked Strategy(s):
Target sites with Late Mesolithic and Early Neolithic organic remains

3.2.4: What light is thrown by isotope analysis on dietary change in the Neolithic?

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Status:
Active
Date accepted:
07/10/2019
Date of next review:
07/10/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
East Midlands Historic Environment Research Framework
Categories:
NEOLITHIC, MIDDLE BRONZE AGE, EARLY BRONZE AGE
Linked Strategy(s):
Conduct additional investigations of earlier Neolithic funerary traditions, Recover and analyse human remains

3.3 Introduction, character and development of agriculture

3.3.1: When was the transition from nomadic to semi-sedentary and sedentary communities and to what extent did this vary in different landscapes?

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3.3.2: Can we clarify the range of new crops, regional variations in the introduction of species such as spelt wheat, the relative importance of cultivated and gathered food and changes in diet?

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3.3.3: What was the balance between domesticated animals and cultivated crops and how might this have varied within the region and over time?

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3.3.4: When did the first field and boundary systems develop, how did this vary regionally and what processes may underlie their development?

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3.4 Exploitation of different landscape zones

3.4.1: How may the region’s remarkable variety of upland, lowland and coastal landscapes be surveyed in ways that would permit recognition of significant intra-regional variations in land use?

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3.4.2: Can we identify locations with a high potential for elucidating variations in arable, pasture and woodland cover between ecological zones (e.g. palaeochannels; upland peats)?

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3.4.3: Can we further refine our knowledge of the selective use of particular landscapes for ritual, agriculture and other activities?

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3.5 Settlement patterns

3.5.1: How may we characterise more effectively the frequently ephemeral structural traces that might relate to settlement activity?

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Status:
Active
Date accepted:
07/10/2019
Date of next review:
07/10/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
East Midlands Historic Environment Research Framework
Categories:
NEOLITHIC, MIDDLE BRONZE AGE, EARLY BRONZE AGE

3.5.2: Can we obtain a clearer understanding of temporal and spatial variability in the duration of settlement activity?

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3.5.3: How might settlement morphology and functions have varied regionally and over time, and in particular when, where and why may the first enclosed settlements have developed?

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3.5.4: What may analyses of surface lithic scatters teach us about developing settlement patterns in the region?

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Status:
Active
Date accepted:
07/10/2019
Date of next review:
07/10/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
East Midlands Historic Environment Research Framework
Categories:
NEOLITHIC, MIDDLE BRONZE AGE, EARLY BRONZE AGE
Linked Strategy(s):
Assess the fieldwalking resource, Develop fieldwalking strategies and guidelines for landscape zones

3.6 Ceremonial and burial monuments

3.6.1: Why may monument complexes have developed, why were some short-lived and others of longer duration, and why do these incorporate such a wide variety of monument types?

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3.6.2: Why were some monument types, such as causewayed enclosures, long cairns and henges, constructed in some areas but not others?

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3.6.3: What roles may henges, causewayed enclosures, cursuses and other monument classes have performed in contemporary society?

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3.6.4: To what extent can we relate monument types to particular artefact suites, and can such information usefully inform fieldwork strategies?

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3.7 Riverine monuments and ritual foci

3.7.1: When did burnt mounds develop, what functions may they have performed and how might they relate to contemporary settlements?

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Status:
Active
Date accepted:
07/10/2019
Date of next review:
07/10/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
East Midlands Historic Environment Research Framework
Categories:
NEOLITHIC, MIDDLE BRONZE AGE, EARLY BRONZE AGE
Linked Strategy(s):
Compile database of scientific dates and extend application of Bayesian modelling for radiocarbon dating

3.7.2: What ceremonial or ritual roles may rivers or other watery locations have performed and how may this have varied regionally and over time?

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3.7.3: How significant were river-crossing or confluence zones as foci for monument complexes?

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Status:
Active
Date accepted:
07/10/2019
Date of next review:
07/10/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
East Midlands Historic Environment Research Framework
Categories:
NEOLITHIC, MIDDLE BRONZE AGE, EARLY BRONZE AGE
Linked Strategy(s):
Assess the regional air photographic and lidar resource, Identify monument complexes and prioritise for curatorial action

3.8 Neolithic and Bronze Age societies

3.8.1: Can we identify intra-regional variations in the character of sites and artefacts and what might these signify in social or economic terms?

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3.8.2: How far can studies of burials, grave goods, house and barrow/cairn structures contribute to studies of status variations within and between communities?

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3.8.3: How far may DNA or isotope analysis of human bone shed light upon population mobility and in particular the Beaker population?

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Status:
Active
Date accepted:
07/10/2019
Date of next review:
07/10/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
East Midlands Historic Environment Research Framework
Categories:
NEOLITHIC, MIDDLE BRONZE AGE, EARLY BRONZE AGE
Linked Strategy(s):
Conduct additional investigations of earlier Neolithic funerary traditions, Recover and analyse human remains

3.9 Raw material resources and exchange networks

3.9.1: Can we locate flint, chert, igneous rock and other lithic raw material sources and identify exchange networks (e.g. Group XX Charnwood axes)?

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Status:
Active
Date accepted:
07/10/2019
Date of next review:
07/10/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
East Midlands Historic Environment Research Framework
Categories:
NEOLITHIC, MIDDLE BRONZE AGE, EARLY BRONZE AGE
Linked Strategy(s):
Assess the fieldwalking resource, Foster relevant artefact studies

3.9.2: How far may petrographic and other scientific analyses contribute to our understanding of systems of ceramic production and distribution?

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Status:
Active
Date accepted:
07/10/2019
Date of next review:
07/10/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
East Midlands Historic Environment Research Framework
Categories:
NEOLITHIC, MIDDLE BRONZE AGE, EARLY BRONZE AGE
Linked Strategy(s):
Foster relevant artefact studies

3.9.3: How far may studies of grave goods from barrows and other burial monuments contribute to studies of trade and exchange within and beyond the region?

More information on this question
Status:
Active
Date accepted:
07/10/2019
Date of next review:
07/10/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
East Midlands Historic Environment Research Framework
Categories:
NEOLITHIC, MIDDLE BRONZE AGE, EARLY BRONZE AGE
Linked Strategy(s):
Conduct additional investigations of earlier Neolithic funerary traditions, Foster relevant artefact studies

3.9.4: How can we further refine our understanding of the production and distribution of copper, bronze and gold items?

More information on this question
Status:
Active
Date accepted:
07/10/2019
Date of next review:
07/10/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
East Midlands Historic Environment Research Framework
Categories:
NEOLITHIC, MIDDLE BRONZE AGE, EARLY BRONZE AGE
Linked Strategy(s):
Foster relevant artefact studies

2 Comments

  1. vowen2

    Site/Project Name
    Clifton Park and Ride
    Parish
    Clifton
    County/Unitary Authority
    Nottinghamshire
    NGR
    454282 333495
    OASIS ID
    trentpea1-225112
    Report and Web Link
    http://www.yorkarchaeology.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/NAT5-web.pdf; http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archiveDS/archiveDownload?t=arch-1123-1/dissemination/pdf/trentpea1-225112_1.pdf
    Agenda Topic(s)

    3.1.1 How may radiocarbon and other scientific dating methods be applied most effectively to refining the period’s imprecise chronological framework?
    3.4.3 Can we further refine our knowledge of the selective use of particular landscapes for ritual, agriculture and other activities?
    3.9.1 Can we locate flint, chert, igneous rock and other lithic raw material sources and identify exchange networks (e.g. Group XX Charnwood axes)?
    How has this work addressed the Research Agenda and Strategy?

    A Neolithic date is suggested for a large oval ditched enclosure investigated at Clifton Park and Ride during excavations conducted in advance of the Nottingham tram extension, on behalf of Vinci Construction UK. The enclosure contained material of Neolithic to Iron Age date and thermoluminescence dating of the basal fill gave a result of 4320±700 years BC. However, it has been suggested that this may date the formation of ancient colluvium on the site and the limited quantity of secure Neolithic dating evidence means the provenance of the feature remains to some extent uncertain. The site therefore highlights challenges relevant to Agenda Topic 3.1.1. If indeed Neolithic, the feature may represent a ’causewayed enclosure’ and possible seasonal meeting place, although its morphology is not entirely typical of such monuments.

    A rectilinear enclosure of possible Neolithic date and a Bronze Age ring ditch were also identified. The ring ditch was situated on a plateau and such a prominent topographic position is typical of features of this type. However, in contrast, Bronze Age barrows previously identified and excavated in Clifton further to the northeast occupy much lower-lying positions close to the course of the River Trent. This contrast, as well as the location of the (possible) Neolithic and Bronze Age features within a small dry valley facing the floodplain, is of interest in respect to landscape organisation as raised by Agenda Topic 3.4.3 and also the issue of monument distribution as highlighted in Agenda Topic 3.6.2.

    Neolithic activity was also represented by a small amount of, probably residual, worked flints and pottery within later prehistoric features. Of particular interest are some pieces of (and flakes from) Neolithic polished stone axe heads of Langdale type from Cumbria. Further specialist analysis may give insight into trade networks as raised in Agenda Topic 3.9.1.

  2. vowen2

    Organisation
    Archaeology South East
    Site/Project Name
    Shardlow Quarry
    County/Unitary Authority
    Derbyshire
    NGR
    SK 423286
    Report and Web Link
    https://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeologyse/publications/monographs; Krawiek, C, Howard, A J, Gearey, B 2017 Beside the River Trent: Archaeological Investigations at Shardlow Quarry, Derbyshire (Spoilheap Monograph 14). Archaeology South-East & Trent and Peak Archaeology
    Agenda Topic(s)

    3.7.3 How significant were river-crossing or confluence zones as foci for monument complexes?
    3.5.1 How may we characterise more effectively the frequently ephemeral structural traces that might relate to settlement activity?
    3.2.3 How may environmental sampling strategies assist in elucidating the transition from later Mesolithic to earlier Neolithic economies?
    Research Objective(s)

    3E Target sites with Late Mesolithic and Early Neolithic organic remains
    How has this work addressed the Research Agenda and Strategy?

    Human activity at Shardlow peaks during the middle Bronze Age evidenced by a range of material cultural remains. During the removal of alluvial sediments from across the site, 16 bronze items were recovered, including palstaves, axes and rapiers. In addition, the sands and gravels and finer palaeochannel sediments preserved two logboats, a wooden platform and two possible fishing structures. These remains provide real insights into the close relationship that local prehistoric peoples had with the river, using it for transport and trade, exploiting its food resources, and as a place of ritual significance. The environmental deposits recorded in conjunction with these finds demonstrate significant landscape change with the main channel of the Trent moving position on at least two occasions

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