Middle Bronze Age 1800-1200BC

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  • Middle Bronze Age 1800-1200BC
    • Round barrows/cairns
      • Inhumation-became predominant burial type
      • Final phases of Stonehenge and Avebury
      • Land control established-more hierarchical forms of burial-individual
      • Rich grave goods
        • Amesbury Archer (See LNEBA)
      • Sun more significant-rise of agriculture-orientation of tombs/sites/houses to sun.
    • Britain had a coastline similar to today
      • Britons were c. 0.5m
    • Religion and Ritual
      • Bronze and religion
        • Copper mines of Great Orne
          • Produced 175-238 tonnes of copper
        • Lots buried
          • Lots 'dumped' in boggy areas and off causeways
            • Some partly smelted then thrown in water-quenching and steaming as they went
              • Magical concept as they passed to 'other' world
              • Liminal sites?
                • Finds at limits of dry land, or off platforms constructed along causeways
                  • To reach center of boggy area?
                    • Flag Fen
                      • 1km pier consisting of pile driven post alignments
                        • 2,000,000 trees with felling dates of 1280-924
                          • Felling dates often coincide with lunar eclipses
                            • ritual significance in age of astronomy
                              • Ceremonial significance of planting piles into bog during lunar eclipses
                            • Explains large time period as were only using axes and ropes-if only cutting in lunar eclipses going to take a long time
                      • Deposits discarded off pier
                        • 1km pier consisting of pile driven post alignments
                          • 2,000,000 trees with felling dates of 1280-924
                            • Felling dates often coincide with lunar eclipses
                              • ritual significance in age of astronomy
                                • Ceremonial significance of planting piles into bog during lunar eclipses
                              • Explains large time period as were only using axes and ropes-if only cutting in lunar eclipses going to take a long time
                        • Grinding stones
                        • Pots which were deliberately broken
                          • So why discard?
                            • 6 possible theories
                              • 1-Remove from circulation-anti-inflationary measure
                                • But there would need to be a lot of them being made for this to make sense-could they really produce bronze on such a grand scale?
                              • 2-Carelessness
                                • River deposits lost in transit, land hoards and forgotten caches
                                  • Very valuable objects though so would they really have been careless enough to drop it into a wet area?
                              • 3-Offerings to water gods
                                • Seems more plausible due to fact that items have been deliberately broken and used very little
                                  • Offering up the most valuable items in society.
                              • 4-Items of the defeated enemy
                                • Possible but not very likely due to almost pristine nature of swords
                                  • If they had been used in defence of their land there would be nicks and wear on blades, but there is none.
                              • 5-Conspicuous destruction to show wealth and power
                                • New or current chieftain showing off-so much wealth that they can afford to just throw these items away?
                              • 6-Diplomatic gifts now not required?
                                • End of an alliance?
                          • Some animal remains too-horse mandibles
                        • Bronze objects (including swords) hardly used and deliberately broken
                          • Use wear analysis shows very little wear
                          • So why discard?
                            • 6 possible theories
                              • 1-Remove from circulation-anti-inflationary measure
                                • But there would need to be a lot of them being made for this to make sense-could they really produce bronze on such a grand scale?
                              • 2-Carelessness
                                • River deposits lost in transit, land hoards and forgotten caches
                                  • Very valuable objects though so would they really have been careless enough to drop it into a wet area?
                              • 3-Offerings to water gods
                                • Seems more plausible due to fact that items have been deliberately broken and used very little
                                  • Offering up the most valuable items in society.
                              • 4-Items of the defeated enemy
                                • Possible but not very likely due to almost pristine nature of swords
                                  • If they had been used in defence of their land there would be nicks and wear on blades, but there is none.
                              • 5-Conspicuous destruction to show wealth and power
                                • New or current chieftain showing off-so much wealth that they can afford to just throw these items away?
                              • 6-Diplomatic gifts now not required?
                                • End of an alliance?
                          • Placements continued for around 1,200 years.
                      • Flag Fen is big but not unique
                        • Testwood Hampshire c.1500BC
                          • Oldest bridge in England-1500BC. (well the timbers were found anyway-143. None complete due to weathering. Shows advanced skills in carpentry
                          • Cleat of a boat found.
                          • 32cm bronze rapier
                        • Vauxhall 1550BC (bridge across Thames)
                          • Consits of two rows of wooden posts-doesn't connect banks
                            • Island in the middle at some point
                              • burial area?
                        • Eton Rowing Lake 1350BC
                          • Don't need to know in detail-brief
                            • Finds include
                              • Series of bridges
                              • Ladder up to a bridge
                              • Burial mounds and wooden structures
                              • Human and animal remains
                              • Oldest scythe in Britain
                              • Potsherds, seeds, pollen
                      • East of Peterborough
                  • Possible dog sacrifices too
                  • Ritual killing of boats-laden with offerings and deliberately sunk.
                • Other wet/dry sites have scatters of flint, pottery etc
                  • Votive offerings?
                    • Flag Fen
                      • Deposits discarded off pier
                        • Grinding stones
                        • Pots which were deliberately broken
                          • Some animal remains too-horse mandibles
                        • Bronze objects (including swords) hardly used and deliberately broken
                          • Use wear analysis shows very little wear
                          • Placements continued for around 1,200 years.
                      • Flag Fen is big but not unique
                        • Testwood Hampshire c.1500BC
                          • Oldest bridge in England-1500BC. (well the timbers were found anyway-143. None complete due to weathering. Shows advanced skills in carpentry
                          • Cleat of a boat found.
                          • 32cm bronze rapier
                        • Vauxhall 1550BC (bridge across Thames)
                          • Consits of two rows of wooden posts-doesn't connect banks
                            • Island in the middle at some point
                              • burial area?
                        • Eton Rowing Lake 1350BC
                          • Don't need to know in detail-brief
                            • Finds include
                              • Series of bridges
                              • Ladder up to a bridge
                              • Burial mounds and wooden structures
                              • Human and animal remains
                              • Oldest scythe in Britain
                              • Potsherds, seeds, pollen
                      • East of Peterborough
                    • Suggestions of heated stones in pools to provide saunas-purity idea of steam?
                  • Burnt mounds-heaps of refuse from ceremonies at water's edge? Or feasting?
              • Liminal sites?
                • Finds at limits of dry land, or off platforms constructed along causeways
                  • To reach center of boggy area?
                    • Possible dog sacrifices too
                    • Ritual killing of boats-laden with offerings and deliberately sunk.
                  • Other wet/dry sites have scatters of flint, pottery etc
                    • Votive offerings?
                      • Suggestions of heated stones in pools to provide saunas-purity idea of steam?
                    • Burnt mounds-heaps of refuse from ceremonies at water's edge? Or feasting?
          • Domestic ritual
            • In North and West big sites disappear but domestic settings show religious development
            • Houses at Clad Hallan
              • Underneath them are: broken pots (similar to Flag Fen?), 'closing deposits' sealed in new floor layers, and some foundation burials (often of partially mummified corpses of some age
                • Dead now being interred at place of habitation?
                  • Similar to Skara Brae?
              • One burial of particular interest as skeleton is composed of three individuals
                • Head and neck from one man, jaw was from second, and the rest of the body from a thrid
                  • Reason?
                    • Head and jaw were 300-400 years older than the rest of the body
                      • Could only have survived intact if some soft tissue connective remains
                        • Not possible in Scottish climate without artificial preservation
                          • No evidence of complex mummification
                            • So somehow preserved body but seems to be a purely local innovation.
                              • Different cultures with different burial practices.
                  • Head and jaw were 300-400 years older than the rest of the body
                    • Could only have survived intact if some soft tissue connective remains
                      • Not possible in Scottish climate without artificial preservation
                        • No evidence of complex mummification
                          • So somehow preserved body but seems to be a purely local innovation.
                            • Different cultures with different burial practices.
              • Also one individual died around 1600BC but wasn't buried till 1,000BC
                • Female interred around same time but died around 1,300BC.
            • House arrangement to replicate sun's passage overhead
              • Entrance to East to greet rising sun, working areas in west, sleeping in north and foundation burials in north east
                • Dead go down with sun?
                • Houses at Clad Hallan
                  • Underneath them are: broken pots (similar to Flag Fen?), 'closing deposits' sealed in new floor layers, and some foundation burials (often of partially mummified corpses of some age
                    • Dead now being interred at place of habitation?
                      • Similar to Skara Brae?
                  • One burial of particular interest as skeleton is composed of three individuals
                    • Head and neck from one man, jaw was from second, and the rest of the body from a thrid
                      • Reason?
                    • Also one individual died around 1600BC but wasn't buried till 1,000BC
                      • Female interred around same time but died around 1,300BC.
            • Creation of deities
              • Death had long been celebrated as 'muse of religion', but in Bronze Age ancestor worship became superseded by deity religions in multiple cultures
                • Supernatural forces given human form
                  • Easier to comprehend?
                  • Also to enable leader's of tribes to claim descent from deity
                    • Legitamacy
                  • Individual now symbolises religious salvation of many
                • More pronounced in other areas such as Eygpt
                  • In Britain evidence is thinner
                    • However economic shift was occurring and later there are religions with deities at their centre
                      • Therefore can assume shift took place in Britain as well
            • Inhumation and burial
              • Urnfield culture spreading from Hungary
              • Landcsape marked by barrows-follow older lines and inherited systems/ritual landscapes
                • Barleycroft farm alignments
                  • Complex of post alignments
                    • 950 posts
                      • In one of the post holes in line 2 there were remains of cremated human skulls
                    • roughly followed EW-NS axis.
                    • Located between two other sites
                      • Ring ditches and cremation cemetery to the west and the barrows' to the east.
                        • Proposed that they might link the two.
                  • Slight traces of two roundhouses of Bronze Age period and pit cluster from Neolithic
                • Wide variety-Bowl, ditched, ditchless etc
                • Is there something more complex going on though?
                  • Many buried in sites but evidence of removal of bones in fenland sites
                    • Repurposing?
              • Traditional view-buried/cremated remians celebrated individual not community any more.
                • Many buried in sites but evidence of removal of bones in fenland sites
                  • Repurposing?
            • Rites of passage in Bronze Age
              • Hemp Knoll, Wiltshire
                • Deep burial chamber dug
                  • Wickerwork coffin placed in centre
                    • remains contained in crouched position
                      • May have been wrapped in a shroud
                        • Accompanied by wrist guard (used and damaged), belt ring and a beaker
                          • Concelaed rather than on display
                            • Bring an end to memories?
                        • Due to presence of ox skull and four feet.
                • Single secondary cremation interred in upturned food vessel.
              • Raunds, Northamptonshire (again)
                • Barrow
                  • 1 male inhumation placed on oak planks, covered by limestone cairn then 200 cattle skulls
                    • Suggesting?
                      • 1-organistaion
                      • 2-Mass participation-1 person can't eat 40,000 kilos of beef
                      • Clan celebration
                      • Primacy of buried man (chief?) with suggestion of social hierachy
                        • Deificiation of individual-legends and myths?
                • Barrow 6 shows burials over the top of ancient burials
                  • Ancestor connection?
                  • continuation of same cultural associations
                • Site also used extensively for cremation until c.1000BC
              • Silbury hill
                • Seems random I know as from previous time but bare with me
                  • 1960's live excavation found no burial chamber as suspected
                    • However did find a series of chalk ramparts and internal structure
                      • Mausoleum?
                    • Left it rather unstable too

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