Transition trauma: a case-study of coping with becoming Neolithic

Telford, Denise Ann (2019) Transition trauma: a case-study of coping with becoming Neolithic. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Change and transition are an inexorable and often emotionally painful part of being human. Despite this, British Neolithic grand narrative transitional models continue to focus upon ‘faceless’ top-down narratives of impersonal Neolithicisation (immigration vs indigenism). In contrast, this thesis explores a regional case-study of the human element of transition and its repercussions, so offering an alternative voice within Neolithic studies. In order to provide a reading of Early Neolithic society, a holistic line of investigation has been adopted. This encompasses several interdisciplinary methods and theoretical approaches including prehistoric archaeology, human geography, ethnography, and the Medical Humanities.
The premise of this research is that becoming Neolithic was not a utopian outcome. Rather, Mesolithic-Neolithic social transformation has been defined as a period of ‘Transition Trauma’. Within this framework, the key aim of this thesis is to produce an emotional account of Neolithicisation by identifying human responses to an increasingly unstable world. More specifically, this research explores themes of nurture and ethical community care, as a way of coping with becoming Neolithic. In order to write an empathetic narrative of lived experience, the broken Group VI axehead assemblages of Early Neolithic Luce Sands (Dumfries and Galloway), their specialised chaîne opératoire, and their healing arctic/alpine source landscape in the Central Cumbrian Massif were chosen as case-studies.
Group VI axe assemblages from Luce Sands are identified as the material culture of Neolithic Transition Trauma Response. Various connections are also drawn between these materials and the health giving properties of their high altitude source landscape across the Solway Firth. The analysis of the minutiae of these micronarratives allows for a bottom-up agent based reading of the psychological and physiological impact of Neolithic upheaval. New ideas and areas of research around the therapeutics of Neolithic axe polishing, plant pharmacology/medicinal geologies, and medical pilgrimage to healing landscapes are also suggested. Within this context, human behaviours of coping, the importance of shared ethics of care, and the advantages of female oriented responses to trauma are written. By re-centring people in this narrative, Neolithic care-giving responses are significant to the archaeology of emotion and to Neolithic discourse. Moreover, it is hoped that the potential therapeutic benefits of the ‘Transition Trauma Responses’ identified in this thesis might begin to contribute to cultural heritage therapy programmes for wellness in the future.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis is not available for viewing. The print version will be available for consultation once any embargo period expires.
Keywords: Neolithic, medical humanities, polished stone axe, Scotland, Trauma.
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Supervisor's Name: Brophy, Dr. Kenneth and Harris, Dr. Susanna
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Dr Denise Telford
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-41154
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 May 2019 11:03
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2022 08:54
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.41154

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