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Lithic Scatters and Landscape Occupation in the Late Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic: A Case Study from Eastern England

Billington, Lawrence Paul

[Thesis]. Manchester, UK: The University of Manchester; 2017.

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Abstract

Lithic scatters are the most abundant class of evidence relating to Late Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic activity in southern Britain. Many such scatters, especially those from surface and ploughsoil contexts, have long been characterised as being of low-interpretive value and have been marginalised both in academic studies of the periods and in the wider context of protecting and managing the historic environment. This vast body of evidence makes little contribution to contemporary understandings of the LUP and Mesolithic, which remains largely informed by work which privileges the investigation of well-preserved sites with in situ lithic scatters, especially those with associated faunal remains and palaeoenvironmental evidence. This has serious implications for our ability to characterise and interpret activity in locations and regions where such well preserved and intensively investigated sites are lacking, and in many areas of the country policy makers, fieldworkers and curators are not equipped with the information necessary to make informed decisions concerning the investigation, management and protection of the archaeology of these periods. This thesis explicitly address these issues through a detailed case study of the lithic scatter record from a study area in eastern England. This study is based around a comprehensive database of reported lithic scatters, assembled from a wide range of published and unpublished sources and encompassing all kinds of scatters, from well preserved and exhaustively analysed in-situ scatters to poorly provenanced collections of lithics amassed in the late 19th and early 20th century. This thesis provides the first comprehensive synthesis of the Late Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic of the study area and explicitly assesses the interpretative potential of the lithic scatter record, in terms of how it can be used both to develop narratives of landscape occupation and to inform future work on, and management of, lithic scatters in the study area and beyond.

Additional content not available electronically

CD-ROM containing five digital appendices (four excel spreadsheets and a pdf document) originally submitted in pocket inside back cover of print version of thesis. A copy of the CD has been deposited with the University of Manchester Library.

Bibliographic metadata

Type of resource:
Content type:
Form of thesis:
Type of submission:
Degree type:
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree programme:
PhD Archaeology
Publication date:
Location:
Manchester, UK
Total pages:
471
Abstract:
Lithic scatters are the most abundant class of evidence relating to Late Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic activity in southern Britain. Many such scatters, especially those from surface and ploughsoil contexts, have long been characterised as being of low-interpretive value and have been marginalised both in academic studies of the periods and in the wider context of protecting and managing the historic environment. This vast body of evidence makes little contribution to contemporary understandings of the LUP and Mesolithic, which remains largely informed by work which privileges the investigation of well-preserved sites with in situ lithic scatters, especially those with associated faunal remains and palaeoenvironmental evidence. This has serious implications for our ability to characterise and interpret activity in locations and regions where such well preserved and intensively investigated sites are lacking, and in many areas of the country policy makers, fieldworkers and curators are not equipped with the information necessary to make informed decisions concerning the investigation, management and protection of the archaeology of these periods. This thesis explicitly address these issues through a detailed case study of the lithic scatter record from a study area in eastern England. This study is based around a comprehensive database of reported lithic scatters, assembled from a wide range of published and unpublished sources and encompassing all kinds of scatters, from well preserved and exhaustively analysed in-situ scatters to poorly provenanced collections of lithics amassed in the late 19th and early 20th century. This thesis provides the first comprehensive synthesis of the Late Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic of the study area and explicitly assesses the interpretative potential of the lithic scatter record, in terms of how it can be used both to develop narratives of landscape occupation and to inform future work on, and management of, lithic scatters in the study area and beyond.
Additional digital content not deposited electronically:
CD-ROM containing five digital appendices (four excel spreadsheets and a pdf document) originally submitted in pocket inside back cover of print version of thesis. A copy of the CD has been deposited with the University of Manchester Library.
Thesis main supervisor(s):
Thesis co-supervisor(s):
Language:
en

Institutional metadata

University researcher(s):

Record metadata

Manchester eScholar ID:
uk-ac-man-scw:307798
Created by:
Billington, Lawrence
Created:
2nd March, 2017, 11:32:44
Last modified by:
Billington, Lawrence
Last modified:
6th April, 2017, 08:05:17