Grooved Ware in Britain and Ireland Neolithic Studies Group Seminar Papers 3 by ROSAMUND CLEAL AND ANN MACSWEEN Editors Oxbow Books.
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ISBN 1 77 5. This collection of fourteen papers plus Introduction and Gazetteer arose from a Neolithic Studies Group seminar that took place on a memorably eventful and frosty day in February As one of the speakers and subsequent contributors to the volume, my comments are those of an active participant in the demi-monde of Grooved Ware studies, and they are offered with the benefit of hindsight.
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It is with affection to the Editors, and in admiration of their achievement, that these remarks are addressed. As Sara Champion commented, in her review of the seminar for PAST in Decemberonly 19 finds of Grooved Ware were known of when Stuart Piggott first defined this pottery as a widespread late Neolithic ceramic tradition in Over the next 23 years this total would virtually triple towith major assemblages emerging from the Orkney Islands, the distribution expanding to encompass hitherto 'blank' areas such as Wales and Ireland, and a good number of radiocarbon determinations becoming available.
By the time was therefore ripe for a fresh re-evaluation.
In her Introduction to the volume, Ros Cleal explains that she and co-Editor Ann MacSween were drawn to the challenge of organising such an exercise when they — like others before them — realised that the assemblages on which they had been working, from opposite ends of Britain in southern England and in Orkney respectively, contained some striking similarities.
The agenda which they set, for both the seminar and the volume, was 'Grooved Ware: What, Where, When and Why? In assessing how well the volume works in helping us to understand this ceramic phenomenon and its broader context, these four questions will be kept in mind.
The volume was long in gestation - five years from the seminar to the publication - and in the interim, the line-up of contributors changed. The published papers are arranged in four sections, with two 'Regional Surveys' and schweinsteiger und ana kennenlernen curiously non-adjacent 'Grooved Ware from excavations' broadly covering questions of 'what? This question is also touched upon in several other papers.
The final 'Dating' section consists of two intriguing papers, which offer different perspectives on the chronological ordering of Grooved Ware. The first is an ambitious attempt singles oberasbach Anna Brindley to present an overall sequence for the development aubrey edwards dating the tradition in Madrid leute kennenlernen and Ireland, using typochronology and radiocarbon dating.
The second is a meticulous study, by Paul Garwood, of the same kinds of information as they pertain to southern England. Without doubt, the volume is a 'must-have' for anyone interested in late Neolithic Britain and Ireland. It offers a wealth of information that is concise and well-presented, with numerous, mostly excellent-quality illustrations.
It provides us with the first substantive review of Irish Grooved Ware, and a digest of most of the radiocarbon dating evidence from Ireland and Britain that was available at the time of publication, along with a useful discussion of the potential and limitations of using C14 dates for this period of prehistory, given the vagaries of this part of the calibration curve.
It also goes into the question of design similarities with passage tomb art e. Barclay, p.
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Kinnes on the spiral motif, and Bradley— although there is doubtless more that can be said on these topics. Grooved Ware, or Grooved Ware vs. Beaker use. Furthermore, the Gazetteer - compiled with the help of numerous contributors - represents the fruits of a considerable amount of labour. For all of this, the Editors and contributors are to be congratulated.
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But to what extent does the volume help us to understand Grooved Ware, either as a ceramic tradition or as part of broader late Neolithic developments? Given the undoubtedly justifiable claims for stylistic variability at site, local, regional and national levels, it would have been useful to see more illustrative evidence of this. Similarly, as online dating sexseiten radiocarbon dating, it would have been useful to have seen a complete list of all the relevant radiocarbon dates for Grooved Ware in Britain and Ireland, and to have had a critical evaluation of all of them, not just those from Ireland and southern Britain.
One casualty erfolgreich männer kennenlernen kaiserslautern the delay aubrey edwards dating publishing is that some papers were several years old when the book was printed, and there may have been an understandable reluctance to effect substantial revisions as new information became available.
Furthermore, Merryn Dineley's intriguing suggestion reported in British Archaeology 27,'News' that some large Grooved Ware tubs may have been used for brewing ale is worthy of serious consideration, albeit hard to prove.
More serious, perhaps, is aubrey edwards dating assumption that readers all know, and agree, what Grooved Ware actually is and how it is defined. A degree of prior knowledge — particularly of Longworth's four styles — is required of the reader, and it is a shame that his review of the concept of Grooved Ware and the history of its study that had been delivered at the seminar was not published, as this would have helped to set the scene.
One of the most trenchant criticisms of Grooved Ware studies, as voiced for example in David Clarke's review of this volume for the Antiquaries Journal, has been the elasticity of its definition.
It would seem that any pottery assumed to be of late third or second millennium date that did not readily fit within the categories of Peterborough Ware or its northern and western congeners or Beaker has been placed in the voluminous conceptual tub that is Grooved Ware.
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The pitfalls of this approach have recently been highlighted by Alex Gibson's compelling re-evaluation of some claimed examples of atypical regional material from the Milfield Basin as Bronze Age ceramics Gibson Barclay The validity of Longworth's four Grooved Ware 'styles' is touched on, and its shortcomings in describing material from Scotland and Ireland acknowledged which is just as well, since one pot from Skara Brae contains elements of three of these styles: Clarke pers.
However, among southern-based scholars, at least, these convenient conceptual divisions have become deeply rooted, and indeed Garwood's paper suggests that there may be some degree of stylistic succession over the estimated years of this pottery's use in southern Britain c BC, with the Woodlands style generally post-dating the Clacton, and both in use concurrently with the Durrington Walls style.
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Not one of the papers advocates a rigorous back-to-source critique of these basic categories, however. Nor is it suggested that these style groupings might actually be straitjacketing our way of thinking about ceramic design and its meaning: pigeonholing pots into a defined style is not aubrey edwards dating to explaining them. This reviewer concurs with Aubrey edwards dating and Garwood's position that what we need, to understand patterns and changes in this broad ceramic tradition, is partnersuche dubai firm chronological framework, "drawing on rigorous analyses of relative dating evidence to lend detail to absolute chronologies based on the critical evaluation of radiocarbon dates" Garwood, p.
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Whether that is actually achievable, given the limitations of calibration, is debatable; but there is certainly room for improvement.
The intriguing claims made by Brindley, in trying to establish this kind of scheme, deserve rigorous testing based on firmer chronological foundations. A further area of weakness in the volume concerns the 'Why' aspects of Grooved Ware studies. There is a disappointing paucity of debate on: i how, where, when and why Grooved Ware emerged, and ii how and why strikingly similar pots came to be made in widely-separated parts of Britain and Ireland — and whether this betokened a brief phase of long-distance contacts, or a more sustained period of idea-sharing between networked communities.
To this reviewer these are the most interesting questions; and the difficulty of answering them should not be a bar to vigorous debate. The degree to which the hypothetical aubrey edwards dating spread of Grooved Ware use from Orkney is associated with the spread of practices relating to henges and circles of timber and stone is indeed a vexed and complex question, and other entire volumes have been dedicated to such issues.
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While not for a minute advocating an 'ex Orkney lux' model for the emergence and spread of these ceremonial structures, this reviewer believes that there is nevertheless a compelling pattern of associations, one aspect of which was highlighted in Alex Gibson's brief paper on timber circles and in particular in his comments on cosmology. Within Scotland, it does not seem coincidental that there is a distributional correspondence between the thin scatter of Grooved Ware down the Atlantic seaboard, aubrey edwards dating the thin scatter of timber circles and of stone circles marked by unusually tall stones at Callanish and Machrie Moorechoing those at Stenness.
To this reviewer, a plausible way to explain this is in terms of maritime contact with communities in Orkney, and a decision to embrace practices relating to a cosmology in which the celebration of significant celestial events featured large.
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There are good precedents for Northern:Western Isles links, as seen in the earlier shared use of Unstan bowls. And taking the argument further, the similarity between the pot from Knowth passage tomb 6 in the Boyne Valley in Ireland and some Orcadian Grooved Ware see Brindley's Illustrations 3. How the adoption of this novel ceramic style in Ireland fitted in with the social and ideological transformations of that time is one of the most intriguing questions to be sorted out; and similar issues remain to be faced in explaining the spread of this ceramic tradition and whatever practices and beliefs may have accompanied it elsewhere.
The ghastly spectre of Euan MacKie's astronomer-priest missionaries should not deter others from aubrey edwards dating the cosmological aspects.
Finally, a niggle. The distribution map accompanying the Gazetteer on p.
Time is short; you can't find a map that shows both Britain and Ireland together, at a reasonable scale; what do you do? Here, it is all too obvious that Ireland has been drawn in by hand. Even worse, the dots on it do not correspond to those on George Eogan and Helen Roche's more reliable and accurate map of Irish Grooved Ware on page !