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Agricultural change in later prehistoric and Roman Britain

Agricultural change in later prehistoric and Roman Britain
Agricultural change in later prehistoric and Roman Britain
This thesis has the dual aim of examining the agriculture of the later prehistoric and Romano-British period and investigating the ways in which agricultural systems and agricultural change can be described and explained in an archaeological context. It is argued that a broader approach will enable more useful information to be extracted from the increasing volume of data available. An eight part framework is used as the basis for a discussion of some classes of evidence for agriculture.

The framework encompasses socio-economic factors as well as aspects of agricultural practice. It is argued that an agricultural system is defined by its organisation as much as its practices, and that it can only be understood in its socio-economic context. Conversely, agriculture discussed in this way becomes a source of information on social, economic and political organisation. Patterns of change are identified, and it is suggested that the essentially static picture of later prehistoric agriculture prevalent in much of the literature is erroneous and hinders understanding. The areas of fertility maintenance and the organisation of land use are particularly emphasised. The use of historical and experimental data to estimate productivity of past agricultural systems is discussed. Problems in drawing social inferences from the remains of agricultural activity are considered, and it is suggested that considering the organisation of agriculture as an element in a society provides a key to these difficulties. Some relationships between agricultural and social organisation in the Iron Age are suggested.
University of Southampton
Crosby, Victoria
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Crosby, Victoria
e99be308-4adc-4527-9a02-1d39b0936f63
Shennan, Stephen
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Crosby, Victoria (1989) Agricultural change in later prehistoric and Roman Britain. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 687pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis has the dual aim of examining the agriculture of the later prehistoric and Romano-British period and investigating the ways in which agricultural systems and agricultural change can be described and explained in an archaeological context. It is argued that a broader approach will enable more useful information to be extracted from the increasing volume of data available. An eight part framework is used as the basis for a discussion of some classes of evidence for agriculture.

The framework encompasses socio-economic factors as well as aspects of agricultural practice. It is argued that an agricultural system is defined by its organisation as much as its practices, and that it can only be understood in its socio-economic context. Conversely, agriculture discussed in this way becomes a source of information on social, economic and political organisation. Patterns of change are identified, and it is suggested that the essentially static picture of later prehistoric agriculture prevalent in much of the literature is erroneous and hinders understanding. The areas of fertility maintenance and the organisation of land use are particularly emphasised. The use of historical and experimental data to estimate productivity of past agricultural systems is discussed. Problems in drawing social inferences from the remains of agricultural activity are considered, and it is suggested that considering the organisation of agriculture as an element in a society provides a key to these difficulties. Some relationships between agricultural and social organisation in the Iron Age are suggested.

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Published date: 1 August 1989

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 413914
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/413914
PURE UUID: dc16fd9f-6d31-481d-b63e-bf914b5a3a56

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Date deposited: 11 Sep 2017 16:31
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 19:28

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