The Birth of Neolithic Britain: An Interpretive Account

The Birth of Neolithic Britain: An Interpretive Account


By (author) Julian Thomas

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 528 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 240mm x 36mm | 980g
  • Publication date: 28 January 2014
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199681961
  • ISBN 13: 9780199681969
  • Illustrations note: 105 in-text illustrations
  • Sales rank: 1,332,428

Product description

The beginning of the Neolithic in Britain is a topic of perennial interest in archaeology, marking the end of a hunter-gatherer way of life with the introduction of domesticated plants and animals, pottery, polished stone tools, and a range of new kinds of monuments, including earthen long barrows and megalithic tombs. Every year, numerous new articles are published on different aspects of the topic, ranging from diet and subsistence economy to population movement, architecture, and seafaring. Thomas offers a treatment that synthesizes all of this material, presenting a coherent argument to explain the process of transition between the Mesolithic-Neolithic periods. Necessarily, the developments in Britain are put into the context of broader debates about the origins of agriculture in Europe, and the diversity of processes of change in different parts of the continent are explored. These are followed by a historiographic treatment of debates on the transition in Britain. Chapters cover the Mesolithic background, processes of contact and interaction, monumental architecture and timber halls, portable artefacts, and plants and animals. The concluding argument is that developments in the economy and material culture must be understood as being related to fundamental social transformations.

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Author information

Julian Thomas is Professor of Archaeology at the University of Manchester.

Review quote

Julian Thomas has presented a strong and well-argued statement Detlef Gronenborn, Antiquity This is a book that fizzes with new and plausible ideas that transcend the Neolithic: anyone interested in periods of momentous cultural change, such as from stone- to metal-using societies, or from Roman to Saxon, will reap rich rewards from reading this book Chris Catling, Society of Antiquaries magazine, Salon very thoroughly researched ... very carefully crafted. Joshua Pollard, British Archaeology

Table of contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ; 1. Introduction: The Problem ; 2. The Neolithization of Southern Europe ; 3. The Neolithization of Northern Europe ; 4. The Neolithization of Europe: Themes ; 5. The Neolithic Transition in Britain: A Critical Historiography ; 6. Mesolithic Prelude? ; 7. Times and Places ; 8. Contact, Interaction and Seafaring ; 9. Architecture: Halls and Houses ; 10. Architecture: Timber Structures, Long Mounds and Megaliths ; 11. Portable Artefacts: Tradition and Transmission ; 12. Plants and Animals Diet and Social Capital ; 13. Conclusion: A Model for the Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in Britain ; BIBLIOGRAPHY ; INDEX