Prehistoric Materialities: Becoming Material in Prehistoric Britain and Ireland

Prehistoric Materialities: Becoming Material in Prehistoric Britain and Ireland


By (author) Andrew Meirion Jones


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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 142mm x 218mm x 20mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 7 September 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199556423
  • ISBN 13: 9780199556427
  • Illustrations note: 40 in text illustrations and 8 pages of colour plates
  • Sales rank: 1,331,561

Product description

Humans occupy a material environment that is constantly changing. Yet in the twentieth century archaeologists studying British prehistory have overlooked this fact in their search for past systems of order and pattern. Artefacts and monuments were treated as inert materials which were the outcomes of social ideas and processes. As a result materials were variously characterized as stable entities such as artefact categories, styles or symbols in an attempt to comprehend them. In this book Jones argues that, on the contrary, materials are vital, mutable, and creative, and archaeologists need to attend to the changing character of materials if they are to understand how past people and materials intersected to produce prehistoric societies. Rather than considering materials and societies as given, he argues that we need to understand how these entities are performed. Jones analyses the various aspects of materials, including their scale, colour, fragmentation, and assembly, in a wide-ranging discussion that covers the pottery, metalwork, rock art, passage tombs, barrows, causewayed enclosures, and settlements of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Britain and Ireland.

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Author information

Andrew Jones is a Reader in Prehistoric Archaeology at the University of Southampton. He is the author of Archaeological Theory and Scientific Practice (2002), Memory and Material Culture (2007), editor of Prehistoric Europe: Theory and Practice (2008), and co-editor ,with G. Macgregor, of Colouring the Past (2002).

Review quote

Valuable material Carl Knappett, University of Toronto, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute a scholarly and thorough work, building in part on the author's previous research into archaeology and colour - as such, the text is vividly descriptive, showing a keen eye for detail. Current Archaeology

Table of contents

PREFACE ; 1. An Archaeological Order ; 2. Archaeology in Flux ; 3. Materials and Scale ; 4. Materials, Colour and Light ; 5. Materials and Categories ; 6. Materials and Assemblages ; 7. Materials and Performances ; 8. Presenting Three Artefacts ; 9. Mutable Archaeologies ; REFERENCES ; INDEX