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From Malvern to the Irish Sea: Early Bronze Age Round Barrows in a Border Landscape

Johnson, Neal (2015) From Malvern to the Irish Sea: Early Bronze Age Round Barrows in a Border Landscape. PhD thesis, University of Worcester.

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Abstract

his thesis explores Early Bronze Age round barrows in a distinctive landscape, the Anglo-Welsh borderland. It is a landscape of contrasts, encompassing the lowlands and plains of the Midlands counties to the east and the uplands of the west. Although the region has been recognised as a valid unit of study, many previous studies have been constrained by national and county boundaries. Recent research on the prehistoric archaeology of the region has addressed this problem but until now the area’s round barrows have received little attention. This thesis se rves to redress this imbalance and considers round barrows in their historic and regional context. A multi-scalar approach to the study has been taken. At the macro scale, the morphology, distribution and broad topographic settings are examined in addition to an analysis of factors relating to the survival and destruction of the regions barrows. It is argued that the location of the borderlands may have led to some of the distinct architectural elements present in the region. For the most part, round barrows in the study area do not coalesce in to large cemeteries as seen elsewhere; the general pattern being that of isolated or paired barrows, yet relatively dense clusters have been identified. These are analysed at the meso scale to establish the relationships of barrows within these clusters to each other, to earlier monumentality and to the wider landscape. Here it is suggested that different rationales led to their formation, in some instances rep resenting different communities’ access to resources and routeways. The analysis then proceeds at the micro - scale and considers the problem of why build a round barrow in the first place. By examining a single, well excavated site of two barrows in close proximity with a reasonable degree of contemporaneity, it is possible to mitigate against certain variables to explore the role of choice when a community built a barrow. The role of deposition, including that of human remains is considered and it is argued that such practices were strategies to effect change within the world of the living.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the University's requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
A print version of this thesis is held on Level 4 at the Hive.

Uncontrolled Keywords: Early Bronze Age round barrows, Anglo-Welsh borderland
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Science and the Environment
Depositing User: Janet Davidson
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2016 10:18
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2016 10:18
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/4307

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