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Changing Cultural Dynamics in Prehistory on the Yorkshire Wolds

Whitaker, Kathleen (2011) Changing Cultural Dynamics in Prehistory on the Yorkshire Wolds. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

The Yorkshire Wolds encompasses a region with a rich and varied history where prehistoric funerary monuments abound. Explorations, both amateur and professional, have been carried out for over two centuries, resulting in a disjointed collection of human skeletons. What is perhaps surprising is that the human remains data has never been collated so the picture of prehistoric life on the Wolds is poorly understood. The aim of this thesis is to reconstruct the lifeways of the prehistoric people who were buried on the Yorkshire Wolds, and to assess to what degree the data is different to that from other parts of Britain or Europe. By investigating the themes of quality of life, social differentiation and movement within the context of osteology it was possible to determine a more realistic representation of the past. Using a multitude of methodologies including osteological and paleopathological diagnosis, stable isotope analysis and examinations of funerary rites to recognise and appreciate the complex relationships of people and their environment in prehistory. It has been determined that the inhabitants were subject to a variety of stressors in their earlier and later years, and that they experienced severe hardships in order to survive. The quality of life of these people decreased through time, and most specifically it was the women that lost out on the opportunity to improve their chances for survival and reproduction. The mechanisms associated with these changes may have been related to maternal health as well as the social differentiation that may have favoured males in the later period. As opposed to representing a single homogeneous collective inhabiting this region of East Yorkshire, these groups encompassed individuals with a range of backgrounds and movements. Although those buried on the Wolds have been identified as distinct or special owing to their burials, this did not buffer them from the harsh prehistoric landscape of the Yorkshire Wolds.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Prehistory, Osteology, Quality of Life, Bioarchaeology
Academic Units: The University of York > Archaeology (York)
Depositing User: Dr. Kathleen Whitaker
Date Deposited: 28 May 2012 10:49
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:48
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2351

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