Prehistoric monumentality in the Kilmartin Glen, Mid Argyll

Abernethy, Duncan (2000) Prehistoric monumentality in the Kilmartin Glen, Mid Argyll. MLitt(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The main objective of this thesis was to ascertain if the Kilmartin Glen had been a landscape devoted exclusively to prehistoric burial and ceremonial monuments, as evidence relating to associated settlement appeared to be absent. Previous to this study, work that tested the pattern of prehistoric archaeological deposition in the Glen had never been conducted and the abundance of monuments had led to it being termed a 'ritual landscape'. An intensive, localised study specifically aimed at discovering archaeological evidence other than upstanding monumentality was conducted. After a desk assessment of the archaeological resource, fieldwork was conducted in the vicinity of some of the densest concentrations of prehistoric monumentality in the Glen that involved fieldwalking, geophysical surveying and trial excavations. A landscape was revealed that had been systematically reorganised, especially during a programme of 19th C agricultural improvements. Even so, it was evident fi-om the results that ephemeral traces of ancient activity could be recognised and the upstanding remains were previously far more extensive. A number of prehistoric sites including, lithic scatters indicative of possible settlement, a burnt mound, a decorated cist cover and rock art, were discovered during this study. This material was more indicative of Neolithic activity and material suggestive of Bronze Age settlement was not encountered, but reuse of Neolithic sites in the Bronze Age appears to be far more extensive than previously recognised. Although this evidence indicates that the Kilmartin Glen had not been a landscape devoted exclusively to prehistoric burial and ritual, a dichotomy between areas where the dead and the living resided, might have been maintained. The term ritual landscape is not helpful for interpretation of such groups of sites, neither is it useful to try and differentiate between sites associated with ritual and sites associated with other activities. More helpful is the recognition that the sites in the Kilmartin Glen relating to the period covered in this study appear to fit a particular pattern of ordering in their location and relationship with the known sites and the topography. Being aware of such localised patterns is important for future strategies of investigation, preservation and interpretation.

Item Type: Thesis (MLitt(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: John Barrett
Keywords: Archaeology
Date of Award: 2000
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2000-73976
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/73976

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