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Click here to see strategies recommended for addressing agenda themes and topics for this period.
3.1 Dating
  1. How may radiocarbon and other scientific dating methods be applied most effectively to refining the period's imprecise chronological framework?
  2. How can we date more precisely the various regional styles of Neolithic and earlier Bronze Age pottery?
  3. Can we further refine lithic artefact chronologies within the region?
  4. Can we define more precisely the chronology of the major monument classes (causewayed enclosures, barrows and cairns etc), and how might this have varied spatially?

3.2 Continuity of hunter-gatherer traditions

  1. To what extent may hunter-gatherer subsistence traditions have continued into the Neolithic?
  2. Can we discern continuities or discontinuities in the distributions of later Mesolithic and earlier Neolithic lithic scatters?
  3. How may environmental sampling strategies assist in elucidating the transition from later Mesolithic to earlier Neolithic economies?
  4. What light is thrown by isotope analysis on dietary change in the Neolithic?
3.3 Introduction, character and development of agriculture
  1. When was the transition from nomadic to semi-sedentary and sedentary communities and to what extent did this vary in different landscapes?
  2. Can we clarify the range of new crops, regional variations in the introduction of species such as spelt wheat, the relative importance of cultivated and gathered food and changes in diet?
  3. What was the balance between domesticated animals and cultivated crops and how might this have varied within the region and over time?
  4. When did the first field and boundary systems develop, how did this vary regionally and what processes may underlie their development?
3.4 Exploitation of different landscape zones
  1. How may the region's remarkable variety of upland, lowland and coastal landscapes be surveyed in ways that would permit recognition of significant intra-regional variations in land use?
  2. Can we identify locations with a high potential for elucidating variations in arable, pasture and woodland cover between ecological zones (e.g. palaeochannels; upland peats)?
  3. Can we further refine our knowledge of the selective use of particular landscapes for ritual, agriculture and other activities?

3.5 Settlement patterns

  1. How may we characterise more effectively the frequently ephemeral structural traces that might relate to settlement activity?
  2. Can we obtain a clearer understanding of temporal and spatial variability in the duration of settlement activity?
  3. How might settlement morphology and functions have varied regionally and over time, and in particular when, where and why may the first enclosed settlements have developed?
  4. What may analyses of surface lithic scatters teach us about developing settlement patterns in the region?

3.6 Ceremonial and burial monuments

  1. Why may monument complexes have developed, why were some short-lived and others of longer duration, and why do these incorporate such a wide variety of monument types?
  2. Why were some monument types, such as causewayed enclosures, long cairns and henges, constructed in some areas but not others?
  3. What roles may henges, causewayed enclosures, cursuses and other monument classes have performed in contemporary society?
  4. To what extent can we relate monument types to particular artefact suites, and can such information usefully inform fieldwork strategies?

3.7 Riverine monuments and ritual foci

  1. When did burnt mounds develop, what functions may they have performed and how might they relate to contemporary settlements?
  2. What ceremonial or ritual roles may rivers or other watery locations have performed and how may this have varied regionally and over time?
  3. How significant were river-crossing or confluence zones as foci for monument complexes?

3.8 Neolithic and Bronze Age societies

  1. Can we identify intra-regional variations in the character of sites and artefacts and what might these signify in social or economic terms?
  2. How far can studies of burials, grave goods, house and barrow/cairn structures contribute to studies of status variations within and between communities?
  3. How far may DNA or isotope analyses of human bone shed light upon population mobility and in particular the Beaker phenomenon?

3.9 Raw material resources and exchange networks

  1. Can we locate flint, chert, igneous rock and other lithic raw material sources and identify exchange networks (e.g. Group XX Charnwood axes)?
  2. How far may petrographic and other scientific analyses contribute to our understanding of systems of ceramic production and distribution?
  3. How far may studies of grave goods from barrows and other burial monuments contribute to studies of trade and exchange within and beyond the region?
  4. How can we further refine our understanding of the production and distribution of copper, bronze and gold items?

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Site/Project Name
Clifton Park and Ride
County/Unitary Authority
454282 333495
Report and Web Link
http://www.yorkarchaeology.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/NAT5-web.pdf; http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archiveDS/archiveDownload?t=arch-1123-1/dissemination/pdf/trentpea1-225112_1.pdf

Agenda Topic(s)

How has this work addressed the Research Agenda and Strategy?

A Neolithic date is suggested for a large oval ditched enclosure investigated at Clifton Park and Ride during excavations conducted in advance of the Nottingham tram extension, on behalf of Vinci Construction UK. The enclosure contained material of Neolithic to Iron Age date and thermoluminescence dating of the basal fill gave a result of 4320±700 years BC. However, it has been suggested that this may date the formation of ancient colluvium on the site and the limited quantity of secure Neolithic dating evidence means the provenance of the feature remains to some extent uncertain. The site therefore highlights challenges relevant to Agenda Topic 3.1.1. If indeed Neolithic, the feature may represent a 'causewayed enclosure' and possible seasonal meeting place, although its morphology is not entirely typical of such monuments.

A rectilinear enclosure of possible Neolithic date and a Bronze Age ring ditch were also identified. The ring ditch was situated on a plateau and such a prominent topographic position is typical of features of this type. However, in contrast, Bronze Age barrows previously identified and excavated in Clifton further to the northeast occupy much lower-lying positions close to the course of the River Trent. This contrast, as well as the location of the (possible) Neolithic and Bronze Age features within a small dry valley facing the floodplain, is of interest in respect to landscape organisation as raised by Agenda Topic 3.4.3 and also the issue of monument distribution as highlighted in Agenda Topic 3.6.2.

Neolithic activity was also represented by a small amount of, probably residual, worked flints and pottery within later prehistoric features. Of particular interest are some pieces of (and flakes from) Neolithic polished stone axe heads of Langdale type from Cumbria. Further specialist analysis may give insight into trade networks as raised in Agenda Topic 3.9.1.

--Tina Roushannafas, 05-Feb-2018 14:49

Archaeology South East
Site/Project Name
Shardlow Quarry
County/Unitary Authority
SK 423286
Report and Web Link
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeologyse/publications/monographs; Krawiek, C, Howard, A J, Gearey, B 2017 Beside the River Trent: Archaeological Investigations at Shardlow Quarry, Derbyshire (Spoilheap Monograph 14). Archaeology South-East & Trent and Peak Archaeology

Agenda Topic(s)

Research Objective(s)

How has this work addressed the Research Agenda and Strategy?

Human activity at Shardlow peaks during the middle Bronze Age evidenced by a range of material cultural remains. During the removal of alluvial sediments from across the site, 16 bronze items were recovered, including palstaves, axes and rapiers. In addition, the sands and gravels and finer palaeochannel sediments preserved two logboats, a wooden platform and two possible fishing structures. These remains provide real insights into the close relationship that local prehistoric peoples had with the river, using it for transport and trade, exploiting its food resources, and as a place of ritual significance. The environmental deposits recorded in conjunction with these finds demonstrate significant landscape change with the main channel of the Trent moving position on at least two occasions

--kristina krawiec, 13-Feb-2018 15:29

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  This page (revision-148) was last changed on 28-Feb-2018 09:54 by Tina Roushannafas