By Alasdair W. R. Whittle
This uniquely huge and difficult publication studies the newest archaeological proof on Neolithic Europe from 7,000-2,500 BC. Describing vital components, websites and difficulties, Dr. Whittle addresses the most important issues that experience engaged the eye of students: the transition from a forager way of life; the speed and dynamics of switch; and the character of Neolithic society. A revised model of Whittle's Neolithic Europe: A Survey (CUP, 1985), the e-book displays radical alterations in proof and in interpretive techniques during the last decade.
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Additional info for Europe in the Neolithic: The Creation of New Worlds
In addition, techniques developed on one type of site have been tested on other sites of quite different character. It is now clear that the methods used at Wharram Percy are equally valid on sites containing major stone buildings and that if 28 THE DEVELOPMENT OF EXCAVATION TECHNIQUES such sites, which once might have been thought to contain only stone buildings, are excavated horizontally and in great detail, the plans of unsuspected timber buildings may well emerge. During the 1950s and 1960s urban excavation was developing in parallel with the rural excavations of prehistoric and medieval sites.
The essays in Schofield (ed. 1991) gather together much of recent thinking, and include extensive bibliographies. Clearly, from the point of view of this book, there is still much scope for experimental excavation of the sites of artefact scatters of all kinds to determine what they represent. 6 Contour surveying. A close contour survey of the site to be excavated is a necessity for a number of reasons. First, it is the best way to present an accurate plan of the site in the eventual report; second, it may well reveal features of the site which might otherwise be missed; and third, if the site has to be reinstated when the excavation is finished, it provides the best record on which the reinstatement can be based.
I have demonstrated elsewhere in this book that the digging of holes (even quite large holes) in archaeological sites produces fragmented, often distorted, evidence which can rarely be understood (Chapter 5). The same arguments have even more force when applied to the tiny holes dug at the prompting of a metal detector. Many of these holes may produce nothing more significant than a modern horseshoe, a fragment of farm machinery or a nail. But the purpose of treasure hunting is primarily to find archaeological objects which have market or intrinsic value.