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Collapse, Continuity, or Growth? Investigating agricultural change through architectural proxies at the end of the Bronze Age in southern Britain and Denmark

Sites, Rachel (2015) Collapse, Continuity, or Growth? Investigating agricultural change through architectural proxies at the end of the Bronze Age in southern Britain and Denmark. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

At the end of the Bronze Age in Europe, new iron technologies and the waning of access to long-distance exchange routes had consequences for social organization, creating changes in social priorities. There is a recursive relationship between the political structure, exchange, and agricultural production, as each informs the other; what, then, was the impact of social reorganization on agricultural production? Through an investigation of domestic architecture, using dwellings, pits, and post-structures as proxies for production and consumption, this study explored a model focused on the changes in energy invested in domestic architecture within and between settlements from the Middle Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age to better understand the impact of socio-technical change on agricultural production in southern Britain and Denmark. Changes in productive (dwellings) and consumptive (pits and post-structures) architecture track a potential measure of agricultural production, demonstrating directly the effect of the wide sweeping social and economic changes, whether of decline, continuity, or growth, on agricultural activities. If growth or even continuity is present in agricultural production during the final years of the Bronze Age, how can we account for it? By relating the changes in area and volume provided by domestic structures to energy, we can compare the effort expended on productive and consumptive architecture between settlements, constructing a geography of production that allows for further consideration of inter-settlement interaction. Sub-regional analysis within southern Britain and Denmark provided further detail regarding productive capacity on a site-by-site basis, permitting possible producer versus consumer relations to emerge.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Bronze Age, Iron Age, Middle Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age, Early Iron Age, Southern Britain, Denmark, domestic architecture, agricultural production, social change, production, consumption, dwellings, pits, post-structures
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Archaeology (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Archaeology (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.693085
Depositing User: Rachel Sites
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2016 15:37
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 13:19
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13747

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