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Unknown, unfamiliar and abnormal worlds: Engaged knowing in the Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age of the Irish sea region.

Price, Bronwen Rhiannon 2009. Unknown, unfamiliar and abnormal worlds: Engaged knowing in the Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age of the Irish sea region. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores how focusing on knowledge formation can enable theoretical development beyond recent thematic analyses of prehistoric lives (such as materiality and identity). It prioritises the elucidation of specific rather than generalised concerns which emerged and disappeared from constantly re-worked psyches during the Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age of the Irish Sea region (c. 3000–1600 cal BC). By focusing on the three specific concerns of knowledgeability, familiarity and normality, discerned from widespread or durable patterns in the form and nature of past performances, pocketed glimpses into the world-views of past peoples are offered. These concerns were not present, prominent or relevant to all people, all of the time, but instead wove in and out of various configurations of how life was differentially understood. In this way, the true relativity of past meanings is addressed. After initial discussion about the social relativity of knowledge, and its dialectical formation through engagement, past comprehensions of two 'entities' (taskscapes and practices) are considered. A 40 × 40km study area (the north-western Clun Hills) and mining and herding are explored to this end, generating insights into how shifts in the form and nature of dwelling were inextricably interlinked with changing knowledge. This thesis therefore attempts a fully contextualised appreciation of past lives, building on the dwelling approach by foregrounding the consideration of knowledge. It also offers a fresh consideration of wider ideas which have been side-lined in most recent analyses (such as social change and ethnicities). Such topics are considered in a multi-scalar manner, where a single, engaged re-configuration of meaning can be linked to cascading changes in social life. In this way, past worlds are presented as complex, multi-faceted, fractured and dynamic realities.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
ISBN: 9781303195631
Funders: School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:29
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/54375

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