The Neolithic and Bronze Ages of Aberdeenshire: a study of materiality and historical phenomenology

MacGregor, Gavin (1999) The Neolithic and Bronze Ages of Aberdeenshire: a study of materiality and historical phenomenology. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
PDF (A VHS video which accompanies this thesis is not available for viewing)
Download (23MB) | Preview
Printed Thesis Information:


It is suggested that previous interpretations of the Neolithic and Bronze Ages of Aberdeenshire have, in the main, been flawed due to a pre-occupation with placing the remains of these periods within models still grounded in cultural historical frameworks. Consequently, I abandon period divisions within the thesis, and instead use the changing nature of human inhabitation of landscape, based on the available radiometric dating, as the temporal basis for the study. Thus, recent phenomenological approaches in archaeology are highlighted as a significant development to the study of past remains. Such phenomenological approaches, however, do suffer from a lack of consideration of the role ofperception in constituting social meanings in the past. The theory of the cultural sensoria is developed, therefore, and the significance of material culture, during ontogenesis, in the maintenance of social meanings is stressed. The thesis explores how human understanding of their material conditions (landscape and material culture) changed through the fourth to second millennia BC. Study of the sensory qualities of material culture indicates that a shift in balance of sensory orders, from haptic to visual dominance, took place during this period. The inter-relationship between topography and monument locations is studied. This demonstrated that the choice of monument location was constrained by a number of competing factors, such as the extent of visual field and inter-visibilities. The importance of recognising the inter-play between the materiality of monuments and landscape as a significant component in the constitution of cosmological systems is highlighted. The tension between regional traditions and local expressions within those wider traditions is explored. A variety of historical trends during the fourth and second millennia BC are identified. Ultimately, I conclude sensory studies are of considerable value to the study of all archaeological remains and that it is possible to study historical phenomenologies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts
Supervisor's Name: Morrison, Dr. Alex and Knapp, Dr. Bernard and Richards, Dr. Colin
Date of Award: 1999
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:1999-41122
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2019 11:00
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2019 13:25

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year