Sturt, Fraser and Van-de-Noort, Robert
Maritime and Marine Historic Environment Research Framework: the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. , English Heritage
Maritime themes have long been established in both Neolithic and Early Bronze Age research in England. From Crawford’s (1912) identification of the western seaways as a critical conduit for prehistoric communication, through Childe’s (1946, 36) description of those seaways as
‘grey waters bright with Neolithic Argonauts’, to Case’s (1969) seminal paper on the mechanics of moving domesticated cereals and animals from the continent to Britain. This early archaeological awareness of the importance of maritime activity is not surprising if we
pause to remind ourselves of the island nature of the British Isles. However, since the early works of Crawford and Childe, maritime themes have dipped in and out of scholarly consciousness, as archaeology oscillates between large scale grand narratives and small scale accounts. In this process of switching focus, all too often maritime themes have slipped out of view.
Oxley (2005, 1) has suggested that a major reason for this is the development of an unfortunate divide between maritime and terrestrial archaeology over the last thirty years. This has resulted in compartmentalisation of research questions where in fact there needs to be integration. As such, although this review sits within a maritime research framework, it makes a deliberate effort to integrate research themes and concerns from the broader sweep of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age studies. In addition, this document ought to be read in conjunction with the recently published rapid coastal zone assessments and regional research frameworks, as these series of documents provide crucial additional information on the state of the discipline. For this reason the consultation process is seen by all members of working group as essential part of formalising the content for the final document. Thus, what is presented should be seen as a series of suggestions and thoughts, indicative of material
emerging from the literature, recent investigations and other research frameworks. It is recognised that this will need to be modified and adapted in light of comments received from the wider archaeological community.
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