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Getting into the Groove: Exploring the Relationship between Grooved Ware and Developed Passage Tombs in Ireland c. 3000–2700 cal bc

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 October 2017

Neil Carlin
Affiliation:
School of Archaeology, University College Dublin, Newman Building, Belfield, Dublin 4, Republic of Ireland. Email: neil.carlin@ucd.ie
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between the use of late Irish passage tombs and the development of the British and Irish Grooved Ware complex, including its Orcadian origins. The architectural forms of these passage tombs and their associated material culture, symbolic repertoires, and depositional practices in Ireland and Orkney indicate sustained connections between people in these places. It is argued that these interactions strongly influenced the development of Grooved Ware and its associated material culture in Orkney and beyond. The results of recent dating programmes are synthesised, and the character of depositional practices from 3300 to 2700 cal bc are reassessed to highlight continuities in traditions of practice and representation. Together, these indicate that the adoption of Grooved Ware in Ireland did not herald an era of large-scale social transformation and that the primary use of late passage tombs did not suddenly cease at the end of the 4th millennium bc. Instead they continued as foci for largely unchanged forms of ceremonial activity until 2450 cal bc as part of a series of ongoing social and cultural shifts in people’s material culture and practices. It is argued that the current periodisation of the late 4th–3rd millennia bc in Ireland unduly emphasises a disjuncture between the Irish Middle and Late Neolithic. An alternative view of social and cultural change that refocuses attention on social agency is proposed.

Résumé

Pénétrer dans la cannelure: Exploration de la relation entre la poterie cannelée et les tombes à couloir développées en Irlande vers 3000-2700 av. J.-C. cal, de Neil Carlin

Cet article examine la relation entre l’utilisation des tombes à couloir tardives et le développement du faciès de la poterie cannelée britannique et irlandaise, y compris ses origines orcadiennes. Les formes architecturales de ces tombes à couloir et leur culture matérielle associée, répertoires symboliques et pratiques de dépôt en Irlande et dans les Orcades indiquaient des liens soutenus entre les populations de ces lieux. On argumente que ces interactions ont fortement influencé le développement de la poterie cannelée et de sa culture matérielle associée dans les Orcades et au delà. On fait la synthèse des résultats de récents programmes de datation et on réévalue le caractère des pratiques de dépôt de 3 300 à 2 700 av. J.-C cal. pour mettre en évidence les continuités dans les traditions de pratiques et de représentation. Ceci indique que l’adoption de la poterie cannelée en Irlande n’a pas annoncé une ère de transformation sociale à grande échelle et que l’usage premier des tombes à couloir tardives n’a pas soudain cessé à la fin du 4ème millénaire. Au contraire, elles perdurèrent comme point focal pour des formes en grande partie inchangées d’activité cérémoniale jusqu’en 2450 av. J.-C. cal dans le cadre d’une série de changements sociaux et culturels continus dans la culture et les pratiques matérielles des populations. On argumente que la périodisation actuelle de la fin du 4ème–3ème millénaires av. J.-C. cal en Irlande se concentre exagérément sur la fracture entre le néolithique irlandais moyen et final. Une autre vision du changement social et culturel qui recentre l’attention sur l’instrumentation sociale est proposée.

Zusammenfassung

In den Groove kommen: Eine Untersuchung der Beziehung zwischen Grooved Ware und entwickelten Passage tombs in Irland, ca. 3000–2700 cal bc , von Neil Carlin

Dieser Beitrag untersucht die Beziehung zwischen der Nutzung später Passage tombs und der Entwicklung des britischen und irischen Grooved Ware-Komplexes, einschließlich seiner Ursprünge auf Orkney. Die architektonischen Formen dieser Megalithgräber und die mit ihnen verknüpfte materielle Kultur, symbolischen Ausdrucksformen und Deponierungspraktiken in Irland und auf Orkney zeigen nachhaltige Verbindungen zwischen den Menschen dieser Regionen. Es wird argumentiert, dass diese Interaktionen die Entwicklung der Grooved Ware und ihrer materiellen Kultur auf Orkney und darüber hinaus stark beeinflussten. Die Ergebnisse jüngster Programme zur Datierung werden zusammengefasst und der Charakter der Deponierungspraktiken der Zeit zwischen 3300 und 2700 cal bc wird neu bewertet, um Kontinuitäten in Traditionen der Handlungsweisen und Darstellungsformen zu betonen. Dies zeigt, dass die Annahme der Grooved Ware in Irland nicht eine Zeit großer sozialer Umwälzungen einläutete und dass die primäre Nutzung später Passage tombs nicht plötzlich am Ende des 4. Jahrtausends aufhörte. Stattdessen bestanden sie weiter als Zentren weitgehend unveränderter Formen zeremonieller Aktivitäten bis 2450 cal bc als Teil einer Reihe fortgesetzter sozialer und kultureller Verschiebungen in der materiellen Kultur und den Praktiken der Menschen. Es wird argumentiert, dass die gegenwärtige Periodisierung des späten 4. und 3. Jahrtausends in Irland zu Unrecht eine Trennung von irischem Mittel- und Spätneolithikum betont. Eine alternative Sicht des sozialen und kulturellen Wandels wird vorgeschlagen, die die Aufmerksamkeit wieder auf soziale Handlungen richtet.

Resumen

Getting into the Groove: explorando la relación entre el Grooved Ware y el desarrollo de las tumbas de corredor en Irlanda, ca. 3000–2700 cal bc , por Neil Carlin

En este artículo se examina la relación entre el uso de las tumbas de corredor y el desarrollo del complejo Grooved Ware en Inglaterra e Irlanda, incluyendo sus orígenes en las Orcadas. Las formas arquitectónicas de estas tumbas de corredor y la cultura material asociada, así como los repertorios simbólicos y las prácticas deposicionales observadas tanto en Irlanda como en las Orcadas reflejan conexiones prolongadas entre las poblaciones de estos lugares. Se sostiene que estas relaciones están fuertemente influenciadas por el desarrollo del Grooved Ware y su cultura material tanto en las Orcadas como en otras áreas. Se recopilan los resultados de los recientes programas de datación y se reevalúa el carácter de las prácticas deposicionales entre el 3300 y el 2700 cal bc para resaltar las continuidades en las prácticas y representaciones. Esto indica que la adopción del Grooved Ware en Irlanda no supuso una momento de transformaciones sociales a gran escala y que el uso primario de las tumbas de corredor no cesó repentinamente a finales del IV milenio. Por el contrario continuaron siendo el emplazamiento en el que se llevaron a cabo distintas formas de actividad ceremonial, en gran medida inalteradas, hasta el 2450 cal bc como parte de una serie de cambios sociales y culturales en la cultural material y prácticas de estas sociedades. Se sostiene que la actual periodización para finales del IV–III milenio cal bc en Irlanda enfatiza excesivamente una disyunción entre el Neolítico Medio y Final irlandés. Se propone una visión alternativa de los cambios sociales y culturales que centra su atención en los agentes sociales.

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© The Prehistoric Society 2017 

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