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A reanalysis of wetland object deposition in Iron Age Wales and Scotland

Treadway, Tiffany 2021. A reanalysis of wetland object deposition in Iron Age Wales and Scotland. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

The study of prehistoric deposition is extensive. Nevertheless, while terrestrial deposition has been thoroughly investigated, wetland studies have focused intensely on mortuary traditions (i.e. bog burials) (e.g. Cowie et al. 2011; Giles 2020a; Stevens and Chapman 2020; Van der Sanden 1995). Object deposition research has long held a hyperfocus on metal pieces at the cost to ‘the missing majority’ (Hurcombe 2014), creating a biased interpretation of prehistoric wetland deposition traditions. As a result, holistic analyses of cross-regional trends for wetland object deposition for the British Iron Age has not been attempted. The project's overarching aim was to observe, analyse, and interpret wetland depositional practices for Iron Age Wales and Scotland, based on the object and site records acquired. The project collected object records from museums, online databases, heritage trusts, and archaeological units. Variables such as environment, tradition assemblage, object type, material, manufacture periods and discovery dates are evaluated for their commonality. The project's objective was to identify trends and patterns in the data to provide new or confirm pre-existing object depositional traditions. Wetland deposition practices allow for the study of socio-cultural traditions, communal identity, and social values due to the high level of preservation through anaerobic conditions. Regional traditions were observed through depositional practices (i.e. multi- or single-period hoard, pairs, and singular deposits), material preference (i.e. metal, organic fibres, wood), and common object types. The result of such analyses revealed Iron Age wetland deposition practices served as a reaffirmation of social identity, tradition, and cultural mnemonic. Depositional practices served both functionalist and traditionalist purposes, which is unsurprising as in prehistory, these roles tend to coincide. In the case of wetland deposition, we can surmise that the tradition intertwined these theoretical roles whereby collective memory benefited both the group and the individuals who participated, even marginally.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 October 2021
Date of Acceptance: 4 October 2021
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2021 15:17
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/144788

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