An archaeological study of Neolithic Orkney : architecture, order and social classification

Richards, Colin (1993) An archaeological study of Neolithic Orkney : architecture, order and social classification. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Orkney has always been reowned for the high quality of its Neolithic monuments. The use of local sandstone in their construction has ensured a degree of survival unknown elsewhere in Britain. More importantly, these buildings include houses and villages, perhaps the best known being Skara Brae. Curiously, this aspect of the archaeological resource has tended to be ignored in any analytical sense, and the domestic structures assume a merely descriptive role in discussions of social organisation and its change through time.

Here a more positive stance is taken towards all forms of Neolithic buildings with particular emphasis placed on attempting to understand the cosmologically derived principles of classification and order inherent within their architecture. Thus, much of this thesis is involved with a detailed examination of architecture and its spatial representation. However, to understand the more subtle aspects of spatial organisation a more subjective approach is advanced in which the movement and activities of people (including myself), at particular places and times, is of central importance.

Since social practices determine spatial meaning, other aspects of material culture, it manufacture, use and deposition, are also examined. This investigation is undertaken within a framework which assumes that different forms of classification and order will always determine how something is made and used. This aspect of the enquiry is mainly concerned with ceramics, in particular Grooved ware.

Field survey in the form of field-walking is also a component of this research. A selected area of Mainland, Orkney, was examined from 1984-6, in order to re-evaluate the settlement evidence.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Supervisor's Name: Barrett, Prof. John
Date of Award: 1993
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:1993-2953
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2011
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 14:02

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