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The Meso-what? The public perceptions of the Mesolithic.

Henson, Donald (2016) The Meso-what? The public perceptions of the Mesolithic. PhD thesis, University of York.

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This research has identified ways in which the communication of archaeological knowledge of the British Mesolithic to the wider public could be improved. This has led to recommendations for good practice in improving public understanding of the period. Narrative theory has been used to conduct an analysis of how the Mesolithic has been portrayed across the following communication channels: a selection of academic writings since 1865; popular channels labelled as informative media (web-pages, blogs, YouTube videos, popular archaeology books, newspapers, BBC Online news and popular archaeology magazines); - imaginative media that involve reconstruction or evocative exploration of the past (television programmes, fiction and pictorial illustrations); popular channels linked to education (museums and their education activities, school resources). School education was identified as offering the best chance to influence the widest potential audience and develop new perceptions of the Mesolithic. The final output of the research therefore has been the creation of a school resource for the Mesolithic, focussing on the site of Star Carr and available on the Star Carr web-site. The research has identified and challenged the stereotypes in our depictions of the Mesolithic. It shows that the Mesolithic can be made more accessible and pertinent to audiences through the use of narrative principles and that the period has relevance for those audiences through offering them a perspective on their lives in the present. The research has shown that our portrayals of the Mesolithic can help us better understand the present, and at last allow us to fulfil Grahame Clark’s wish from 1943 that prehistory can find a place in educating new generations to create a better world.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Mesolithic, archaeology, narrative, communications, interpretation, heritage
Academic Units: The University of York > Archaeology (York)
Depositing User: Mr Donald Henson
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2017 11:30
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 11:30
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/17486

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