Barrowman, Christopher Scott
Surface lithic scatters as an archaeological resource in South and Central Scotland.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This work starts with a brief history of interpretation, bringing the reader up to date with how lithic studies have been conducted over the past three centuries. The disparate knowledge concerning scatters in Scotland led to the creation of the Scottish Lithic Scatters Project, which is outlined in chapter one. Of specific concern is the Lithic Scatters Database, and its analysis. Descriptions of each field give an intriguing insight into the extent of bias which is incorporated into the final data. It is also made clear that much information concerning the lithic scatters resource which can be related to a social landscape is gained through the creation of the database, rather than any final analysis of the data.
Chapter two turns to the processes whereby lithic scatters are created in south and central Scotland, as it is through a study of these that an understanding of the information contained within the database can be gained. The creation of the lithic scatters resource is intimately bound to the practices and routines of individuals, as well as to the natural occurrences across the country today. These range from the farmer ploughing his field, to the movement of sand dunes in storms. Ultimately, it is the fieldwalker him/herself who creates the recorded scatter.
The fieldwalkers who have created the scatter resource, are described in chapter three, and the extent of the resource across south and central Scotland is given. The people mentioned in the previous chapter are described more intimately, and it is possible to gain a glimpse of the faces responsible for the scatter resource. The discussion also centres on the fact that the information within the database is not necessarily representative of prehistoric activity; rather the activity of collection and recording in recent history. By looking at the database alone, and ignoring the background information given in this chapter, only an apparently polished set of data would be seen.
The way data is often accepted in archaeology today can be seen as a major problem. Chapter four considers this problem in more detail and shows that personal experience must be documented to place the data within a social, historical and cultural context. Recent thinking in theoretical archaeology has led to similar strands of thought, especially where the recording of the process of fieldwork is considered.
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