Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 October 2016
This paper is about Bronze Age round barrows and the ways in which they became caught up in human practices over an extended time period. At one level it belongs to a flourishing body of work that examines the ‘re-use’ or ‘biography’ of prehistoric monuments. Rather than treating the latter as a generic group, however, this study focuses on chronologies of one specific monument type—round barrows—over a 2600-year period from 1500 bc–ac 1086. By bringing together evidence and interpretations generated mainly within period specialisms, significant homogeneities are revealed in terms of how activities at prehistoric monuments have previously been understood. The possibilities for seeking out different interpretative ground are duly explored. Using a case study from the east of England and drawing on evidence and ideas from much more broadly, the approach taken places particular emphasis on examining relationships between round barrows and other aspects of landscape. The findings offer fresh insight into the temporality of activities undertaken at round barrows, question existing characterizations of past people's historical understandings, and explore the long-term coherence of ‘round barrows’ as a category.
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