From longhouse to stone rows: The competitive assertion of ancestral affinities

Carnes, Alexander (2012) From longhouse to stone rows: The competitive assertion of ancestral affinities. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.

Abstract

The centrepiece of this thesis is a comparative study of the stone rows of Dartmoor and northern Scotland, a rare, putatively Bronze Age megalithic typology. It is argued that these should be defined as cairn-and-rows monuments that ‘symbolise’ long mounds, and avenues in the case of Dartmoor — a circumstance that ‘explains’ the interregional similarities; other aspects of their semantic structures are also analysed using rigorous semiotic theory. An evolutionary approach is taken, drawing on biological theory to explain the active role of these monuments in social evolution, and to understand the processes at work in producing long term change in monument traditions. New theory is developed for analysing such archaeological sequences, and for understanding and explaining material culture in general. The concepts of adaptation and environment in archaeological theory to date are criticised, and environmental construction theory, and aspects of the Extended Phenotype theory, are forwarded as alternatives. The local sequences are contextualised by examining European megalithic origins, tracing the long mound ‘concept’ back to the Bandkeramik longhouses. The question of diffusion or convergence is tackled by examining the mechanisms at work during the transitions from longhouse to long mound and then to the cairn-and-rows; the explanations forwarded for the social function of the monuments is integrated with mechanisms for explaining their spread (or ‘diffusion’). It is argued that all of these related forms — longhouses, long mounds, and the cairn-and-rows — are implicated in a process of competitively asserting ancestral affinities, which explains the constraint on cultural variation, and thus the formation of remarkably stable monument traditions, and the convergence between Dartmoor and northern Scotland in the Early Bronze Age.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis cannot be made available online. Access to the printed version is available once any embargo periods have expired.
Keywords: Neolithic, Early Bronze Age, Monumentality, Stone Rows, Chambered Cairns, Caithness, Dartmoor, Landscape, Evolution, Theory, Semiotics, Ancestry
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Brophy, Dr. Kenny
Date of Award: 2012
Depositing User: Dr Alexander P. Carnes
Unique ID: glathesis:2012-3803
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2013 12:54
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2013 07:58
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/3803

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