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The archaeology of power: understanding the emergence and development of neolithic monument complexes in Britain and Ireland

Greaney, Susan Eleanor 2021. The archaeology of power: understanding the emergence and development of neolithic monument complexes in Britain and Ireland. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

Neolithic monument complexes in Britain and Ireland were places where dispersed non-human and human powers were gathered and drawn upon by people, creating new political, religious and social configurations. This thesis investigates the circulation of power within Neolithic societies by examining the evidence from these ceremonial complexes, focusing particularly on five case studies (Stonehenge, Avebury, Dorchester, Brú na Bóinne and Stenness-Brodgar). Approaches derived from relational, new materialist and assemblage thinking are used to explore the interconnectedness of people, places and things at monument complexes. By considering and including non-human aspects of the world, including rivers, topography, landforms, directionality, alignments and concepts of past, present and future, it is shown how these places were appropriate for the construction of monuments, and how complexes emerged and developed over time. This includes a detailed interpretation of the chronology of the Dorchester complex, derived from new radiocarbon dates and Bayesian analysis. A focus on unequal power relations is retained throughout, with a particular emphasis on how human relations were mediated through things and places, in order to move forward discussions of power within archaeology. Monument complexes emerge as places where relations of power with other beings or things, as well as other people, could be negotiated and worked through.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Funders: AHRC SWW DTP
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 February 2022
Date of Acceptance: 11 February 2022
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2022 10:55
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/147412

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