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The Antler Maceheads Dating Project

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 December 2014

R. Loveday
1 School of Archaeology & Ancient History, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH
A. Gibson
2 Dept of Archaeological Science, University of Bradford, Bradford BD7 1DP
P. D. Marshall
3 Dept of Archaeology, University of Sheffield, Westcourt, 2 Mappin Street, Sheffield S1 4DT
A. Bayliss
4 English Heritage, 1 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn, London EC1N 2ST
C. Bronk Ramsey
5 Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, Research Laboratory for Archaeology, 6 Keble Rd, Oxford 0X1 3QJ
H. van der Plicht
6 Center for Isotope Research, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, PO Box 72. 9700 AB Gronineen. Netherlands


This paper reports the first examples of direct radiocarbon measurements from antler maceheads, demonstrating that both the middle Thames specimens and those from northern Britain date to the second half of the 4th millennium cal BC. This suggests a degree of contemporaneity between riverine activity in the south and ‘prestige’ burial in the north, although the possibility that this is a function of the radiocarbon calibration curve cannot be discounted. The possibility that lattice decorated maceheads can be regarded as prototypes for the Maesmore series of fine stone maceheads is considered but the failure of two out of three decorated examples to produce radiocarbon determinations means that the debate cannot yet be settled.

Research Article
Copyright © The Prehistoric Society 2004

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