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When Othello described Desdemona as possessing ‘that whiter skin of hers than Snow, And smooth as monumental alabaster’, Shakespeare was referring to the Elizabethan and Jacobean predilection for a white and smooth female complexion that could be represented on a monumental effigy by well-chosen white alabaster. However the alabaster available to English sculptors working between 1550 and 1660 did not always allow them to use the ideal pure white material and some deliberately exploited differences in colour in the architectural elements of their work. The introduction of Carrara marble early in the seventeenth century for the monuments of Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots was the initial move away from alabaster as the primary material for monuments, a move that was largely complete by the end of the century although alabaster held primacy until 1660 and did so longer outside London.
By the fifteenth century, alabaster tomb production was concentrated in the alabaster-producing areas of the Midlands and run by Englishmen. Such tombs were only very occasionally carved in London and York. London-made alabaster tombs of the first half of the sixteenth century are very few, but the picture changed after 1550 – gradually at first, but gathering speed by the 1570s. The influx of Netherlandish refugees in the late 1560s and beyond led to the establishment of tomb workshops in Southwark and London.
William Cure, a Dutchman, was brought to England to work on Henry VIII's palace of Nonsuch. We still do not know what work Cure did after Nonsuch but both the Marblers’ and Masons’ Companies in London were interested in his activities, suggesting that he was concentrating on producing monumental brasses and alabaster tombs. His son Cornelius was made a freeman of the Marblers’ Company in 1574 and moved to the Masons’ when that company subsumed the marblers in 1585. As master mason to James I he made the monument to Mary Queen of Scots, thus helping to begin the trend to replace alabaster with Italian marble. A series of alabaster tombs has been linked to him convincingly. For instance, a payment in 1584 by the Earl of Leicester may link him to that at St Mary's, Warwick, for Leicester's small son who died that year (Fig. 9.1).
Since 1993 Historic England (and its predecessor English Heritage) has commissioned 9074 radiocarbon (14C) measurements on archaeological samples. Over 80% of these have been interpreted within formal Bayesian statistical models. The multiple strands of reinforcing evidence incorporated in these models provide precise chronologies that make stringent demands on the accuracy of the 14C results included in the analysis. Inter-laboratory replication is consequently a routine part of model construction and validation. We report an analysis of replicate measurements on 1089 archaeological samples. It is clear that laboratory reproducibility accounts for only part of the observed variation. The type of material dated is also critical to the reproducibility of measurements, with some sample types proving particularly problematic.
The majority of sulfide mineral patterns in the International Centre for Diffraction Data Mineral Powder Diffraction File have historically been of low quality (e.g., FN < 10 and qualitative intensities). A five-year study has resulted in upgrading approximately 20% of the poorer quality patterns and will triple the number of “star quality” patterns. This paper describes the experimental methods used to obtain these upgraded patterns. The essential role of diffraction pattern calculations and diffractogram simulations is stressed.
New radiocarbon dating and chronological modelling have refined understanding of the character and circumstances of flint mining at Grime’s Graves through time. The deepest, most complex galleried shafts were worked probably from the third quarter of the 27th century cal bc and are amongst the earliest on the site. Their use ended in the decades around 2400 cal bc, although the use of simple, shallow pits in the west of the site continued for perhaps another three centuries. The final use of galleried shafts coincides with the first evidence of Beaker pottery and copper metallurgy in Britain. After a gap of around half a millennium, flint mining at Grime’s Graves briefly resumed, probably from the middle of the 16th century cal bc to the middle of the 15th. These ‘primitive’ pits, as they were termed in the inter-war period, were worked using bone tools that can be paralleled in Early Bronze Age copper mines. Finally, the scale and intensity of Middle Bronze Age middening on the site is revealed, as it occurred over a period of probably no more than a few decades in the 14th century cal bc. The possibility of connections between metalworking at Grime’s Graves at this time and contemporary deposition of bronzes in the nearby Fens is discussed.
Children of parents with psychiatric disorders are at risk of poor outcomes. However, there is limited evidence regarding the relationship between parental psychiatric disorders and child school readiness, which is linked to later academic achievement. This study aims to investigate these relationships and broaden the evidence underlying the rationale for family-focused interventions for parental psychiatric disorders.
This study used linked administrative data. Children's school readiness in multiple developmental domains (physical, social, emotional, communicative, cognitive) was measured by the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) for 19 071 Western Australian children (mean age 5.5 years). Children scoring in the bottom 25% on any AEDC domain were considered developmentally vulnerable, or at risk of vulnerability, on that domain. Biological child–parent pairs were identified using birth records. Parents with psychiatric disorders were identified from hospital records, which included information on diagnosis and frequency/duration of psychiatric admissions. Logistic regressions, adjusted for parent age, mother's marital status, child Aboriginality, child English language status, local community remoteness and socioeconomic index, estimated the odds of children being vulnerable/at-risk on each of the AEDC domains.
A total of 719 mothers and 417 fathers had a psychiatric hospitalisation during the study period (12 months prior to the child's birth, up to the end of 2009). Children whose parents had psychiatric disorders had increased odds of being classified as vulnerable/at-risk for school readiness. This increase in odds was evident for both maternal (adjusted odds ratio, aOR 1.37– 1.51) and paternal psychiatric disorders (aOR 1.38–1.50); and for a single admission of one day (aOR 1.32–1.59), a single admission of multiple days (aOR 1.30–1.47), and multiple admissions (aOR 1.35–1.63). Some variability in child outcome was found depending on the parents’ psychiatric diagnosis (mood, anxiety, substance abuse or comorbid disorder).
Children of parents who have been hospitalised with psychiatric disorders are at risk for poor school readiness. These findings add support to recommendations that mental health professionals consider dependent children in discharge and treatment planning for adult psychiatric inpatients. It is also important to ensure that the impact of psychiatric illness in fathers is not overlooked in assessment and intervention. Family-based approaches to adult psychiatric care could meet the dual needs of intervention for parents and preventative measures for children. These findings can inform policy regarding the importance of integrating and coordinating services to meet the needs of families.
Longhouses are a key feature of Neolithic Linearbandkeramik (LBK) settlements in Central Europe, but debate persists concerning their usage, longevity and social significance. Excavations at Versend-Gilencsa in south-west Hungary (c. 5200 cal BC) revealed clear rows of longhouses. New radiocarbon dates suggest that these houses experienced short lifespans. This paper produces a model for the chronology of Versend, and it considers the implications of the new date estimates for a fuller understanding of the layout and duration of LBK longhouse settlements.
Since its publication in 1954 Star Carr has held an iconic status in British Mesolithic archaeology. The original excavations at the site recorded a large assemblage of bone and antler tools from a sequence of peat deposits at the edge of the Lake Flixton. Over 60 years later this remains the largest assemblage of bone and antler artefacts of its date in Britain and has been an invaluable source of information for life in the early Mesolithic. However, the interpretation of this material has been the subject of intense debate, and the assemblage has been variously described as the remains of an in situ settlement, a refuse dump, and the result of culturally prescribed acts of deposition. Fundamentally, these very different ideas of the nature of the site depend on differing interpretations of the environmental context into which the majority of the organic artefacts were deposited. This paper presents the results of recent work at Star Carr that helps to resolve the debate surrounding both the context of the assemblage and the motivations that lay behind its deposition.
Archaeological fieldwork preceding housing development revealed a Mesolithic site in a primary context. A central hearth was evident from a cluster of calcined flint and bone, the latter producing a modelled date for the start of occupation at 8220–7840 cal bc and ending at 7960–7530 cal bc (95% probability). The principal activity was the knapping of bladelets, the blanks for microlith production. Impact-damaged microliths indicated the re-tooling of hunting weaponry, while microwear analysis of other tools demonstrated hide working and butchery activity at the site. The lithics can be classified as a Honey Hill assemblage type on the basis of distinctive leaf-shaped microlithic points with inverse basal retouch.
Such assemblages have a known concentration in central England and are thought to be temporally intermediate between the conventional British Early and Late Mesolithic periods. The lithic assemblage is compared to other Honey Hill type and related Horsham type assemblages from south-eastern England. Both assemblage types are termed Middle Mesolithic and may be seen as part of wider developments in the late Preboreal and Boreal periods of north-west Europe. Rapid climatic warming at this time saw the northward expansion of deciduous woodland into north-west Europe. Emerging new ecosystems presented changes in resource patterns and the Middle Mesolithic lithic typo-technological developments reflect novel foraging strategies as adaptations to the new opportunities of Boreal forest conditions. While Honey Hill-type assemblages are seen as part of such wider processes their distinctive typological signature attests to autochthonous, regional developments of human groups infilling the landscape. Such cultural insularity may reflect changing social boundaries with reduction in mobility range and physical isolation caused by rising sea level and the creation of the British archipelago.
Orkney is internationally recognised for its exceptionally well-preserved Neolithic archaeology. The chronology of the Orcadian Neolithic is, however, relatively poorly defined. The authors analysed a large body of radiocarbon and luminescence dates, formally modelled in a Bayesian framework, to address the timescape of Orkney's Late Neolithic. The resultant chronology for the period suggests differences in the trajectory of social change between the ‘core’ (defined broadly as the World Heritage site) and the ‘periphery’ beyond. Activity in the core appears to have declined markedly from c. 2800 cal BC, which, the authors suggest, resulted from unsustainable local political tensions and social concerns.
There is a considerable mix of models for house durations in the literature on Neolithic Europe. This article presents a summary of a formal chronological model for the Neolithic tell of Uivar in western Romania. We provide estimates of house duration and relate houses to other features of the development of this tell, from the later sixth to the mid-fifth millennium cal bc. Three wider implications are discussed: that the house must be contextualized case by case; that house duration gives powerful insights into the sociality of community; and that houses, surprisingly often taken rather for granted in Neolithic archaeology, should be fully integrated into the interpretation of Neolithic histories. From what perspective, anthropocentric or relational, that may best be done, is open to question; while it may be helpful to think in this case in terms of the lives and vitality of houses, the ability of people to create and vary history should not be set aside lightly.
In the context of unanswered questions about the nature and development of the Late Neolithic in Orkney, we present a summary of research up to 2015 on the major site at the Ness of Brodgar, Mainland Orkney, concentrating on the impressive buildings. Finding sufficient samples for radiocarbon dating was a considerable challenge. There are indications, from both features and finds, of activity pre-dating the main set of buildings exposed so far by excavation. Forty-six dates on thirty-nine samples are presented and are interpreted in a formal chronological framework. Two models are presented, reflecting different possible readings of the sequence. Both indicate that piered architecture was in use by the thirtieth century cal bc and that the massive Structure 10, not the first building in the sequence, was also in existence by the thirtieth century cal bc. Activity associated with piered architecture came to an end (in Model 2) around 2800 cal bc. Midden and rubble infill followed. After an appreciable interval, the hearth at the centre of Structure 10 was last used around 2500 cal bc, perhaps the only activity in an otherwise abandoned site. The remains of some 400 or more cattle were deposited over the ruins of Structure 10: in Model 2, in the mid-twenty-fifth century cal bc, but in Model 1 in the late twenty-fourth or twenty-third century cal bc. The chronologies invite comparison with the near-neighbour of Barnhouse, in use from the later thirty-second to the earlier twenty-ninth century cal bc, and the Stones of Stenness, probably erected by the thirtieth century cal bc. The Ness, including Structure 10, appears to have outlasted Barnhouse, but probably did not endure as long in its primary form as previously envisaged. The decay and decommissioning of the Ness may have coincided with the further development of the sacred landscape around it; but precise chronologies for other sites in the surrounding landscape are urgently required. The spectacular feasting remains of several hundred cattle deposited above Structure 10 may belong to a radically changing world, coinciding (in Model 2) with the appearance of Beakers nationally, but it was arguably the, by now, mythic status of that building which drew people back to it.
This paper presents the first major data release and survey description for the ANU WiFeS SuperNovA Programme. ANU WiFeS SuperNovA Programme is an ongoing supernova spectroscopy campaign utilising the Wide Field Spectrograph on the Australian National University 2.3-m telescope. The first and primary data release of this programme (AWSNAP-DR1) releases 357 spectra of 175 unique objects collected over 82 equivalent full nights of observing from 2012 July to 2015 August. These spectra have been made publicly available via the WISEREP supernova spectroscopy repository.
We analyse the ANU WiFeS SuperNovA Programme sample of Type Ia supernova spectra, including measurements of narrow sodium absorption features afforded by the high spectral resolution of the Wide Field Spectrograph instrument. In some cases, we were able to use the integral-field nature of the Wide Field Spectrograph instrument to measure the rotation velocity of the SN host galaxy near the SN location in order to obtain precision sodium absorption velocities. We also present an extensive time series of SN 2012dn, including a near-nebular spectrum which both confirms its ‘super-Chandrasekhar’ status and enables measurement of the sub-solar host metallicity at the SN site.
This study tested whether accurate dating by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon wiggle-matching of short tree-ring series (~30 annual rings) in the Medieval period could be achieved. Scientific dating plays a central role in the conservation of historic buildings in England. Precise dating helps assess the significance of particular buildings or elements of their fabric, thus allowing us to make informed decisions about their repair and protection. Consequently, considerable weight, both financial and legal, can be attached to the precision and accuracy of this dating. Dendrochronology is the method of choice, but in a proportion of cases this is unable to provide calendar dates. Hence, we would like to be able to use 14C wiggle-matching to provide a comparable level of precision and reliability, particularly on shorter tree-ring sequences (~30 annual growth rings) that up until now would not routinely be sampled. We present the results of AMS wiggle-matching five oak tree-ring sequences, spanning the period covered by the vast majority of surviving Medieval buildings in England (about AD 1180–1540) when currently we have only decadal and bidecadal calibration data.
A formally modeled radiocarbon chronology for a new profile through the great Neolithic tell of Vinča-Belo Brdo, Serbia, is the third interwoven strand in refining the chronology of the tell. This now joins models for the whole sequence based on the archive of early excavations, and for the last two known horizons at the top of the settlement mound, investigated in recent decades. In the new deep sounding, Vinča culture occupation from the 52nd century cal BC is slightly later than in the main sequence, probably reflecting the horizontal extension of the tell as it began to grow. The last dated occupation falls in the late 47th–early 46th century cal BC, slightly earlier than in the main sequence, but the top of the profile is affected by the slippage that caused the new excavations. Formal estimates are given for the succession and varying durations of burnt and unburnt houses, and indicate a period in the first part of the 5th millennium without house burning. Overall, the combined results from the three interwoven strands serve to produce a radically enhanced understanding of the temporality of the tell, which builds on, rather than supplants, previous research. We knew previously that Vinča-Belo Brdo was very long-lived, but now we can time that history with much greater precision. We can assert with much greater confidence that its vertical buildup was steady and largely uninterrupted. We have begun, from the work on the top of the tell and in the new deep sounding, to grasp better the fluctuations in house durations from generation to generation, and can now contrast the relative fortunes of unburnt and burnt houses. We can say much more about the timing and tempo of the ending of the tell, and about the possible circumstances in which that took place.
Radiocarbon dating and Bayesian chronological modelling, undertaken as part of the investigation by the Times of Their Lives project into the development of Late Neolithic settlement and pottery in Orkney, has provided precise new dating for the Grooved Ware settlement of Barnhouse, excavated in 1985–91. Previous understandings of the site and its pottery are presented. A Bayesian model based on 70 measurements on 62 samples (of which 50 samples are thought to date accurately the deposits from which they were recovered) suggests that the settlement probably began in the later 32nd century cal bc (with Houses 2, 9, 3 and perhaps 5a), possibly as a planned foundation. Structure 8 – a large, monumental structure that differs in character from the houses – was probably built just after the turn of the millennium. Varied house durations and replacements are estimated. House 2 went out of use before the end of the settlement, and Structure 8 was probably the last element to be abandoned, probably during the earlier 29th century cal bc. The Grooved Ware pottery from the site is characterised by small, medium-sized, and large vessels with incised and impressed decoration, including a distinctive, false-relief, wavy-line cordon motif. A considerable degree of consistency is apparent in many aspects of ceramic design and manufacture over the use-life of the settlement, the principal change being the appearance, from c. 3025–2975 cal bc, of large coarse ware vessels with uneven surfaces and thick applied cordons, and of the use of applied dimpled circular pellets. The circumstances of new foundation of settlement in the western part of Mainland are discussed, as well as the maintenance and character of the site. The pottery from the site is among the earliest Grooved Ware so far dated. Its wider connections are noted, as well as the significant implications for our understanding of the timing and circumstances of the emergence of Grooved Ware, and the role of material culture in social strategies.
A recent study into prescreening techniques to identify bones suitable for radiocarbon dating from sites known for poor or variable preservation (Brock et al. 2007, 2010a) found that the percent nitrogen (%N) content of whole bone powder was the most reliable indicator of collagen preservation. Measurement of %N is rapid, requires little preparation or material, and is relatively cheap. The technique reduces the risk of needlessly sampling valuable archaeological objects, as well as saving time and money on their unsuccessful pretreatment prior to dating. This method of prescreening is now regularly used at the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit (ORAU). In the original study, linear regression analysis of data from 100 bones from 12 Holocene sites across southern England showed that when 0.76% N was chosen as a threshold, 84% of bones were successfully identified as containing sufficient (i.e. >1%) or insufficient (i.e. <1%) collagen for dating. However, it has been observed that for older, Pleistocene bones the failure rate may be higher, possibly due to the presence of more degraded, short-chain proteins that pass through the ultrafilters used in pretreatment, resulting in lower yields. Here, we present linear regression analysis of data from nearly 600 human and animal bones, antlers, and teeth, from a wide range of contexts and ages, to determine whether the 0.76% threshold identified in the previous study is still applicable. The potential of carbon:nitrogen atomic weight ratios (C:N) of whole bone to predict collagen preservation is also discussed.
A slice of pine from the period covered by single-year calibration data (Stuiver 1993) was selected to serve as part of the quality assurance procedures of the English Heritage radiocarbon dating program, following successful wiggle-matching of 14C measurements from structural 15th century English oak timbers (Hamilton et al. 2007). The timber selected was a roofing element from a house on Jermyn Street, central London, demonstrated by dendrochronology to have been felled in AD 1670. Eighteen single-ring samples were dated by the 14C laboratories at Groningen, Oxford, and SUERC: each laboratory was sent a random selection of 6 samples. This approach was intended to mimic the mix of samples and relative ages incorporated into Bayesian chronological models during routine project research. This paper presents the results of this study.
Radiocarbon dating has been used infrequently as a chronological tool for research in Anglo-Saxon archaeology. Primarily, this is because the uncertainty of calibrated dates provides little advantage over traditional archaeological dating in this period. Recent advances in Bayesian methodology in conjunction with high-precision 14C dating have, however, created the possibility of both testing and refining the established Anglo-Saxon chronologies based on typology of artifacts. The calibration process within such a confined age range, however, relies heavily on the structural accuracy of the calibration curve. We have previously reported decadal measurements on a section of the Irish oak chronology for the period AD 495–725 (McCormac et al. 2004). In this paper, we present decadal measurements for the periods AD 395–485 and AD 735–805, which extends the original calibration set.
Sixty years ago, the advent of radiocarbon dating rewrote archaeological chronologies around the world. Forty years ago, the advent of calibration signaled the death knell of the diffusionism that had been the mainstay of archaeological thought for a century. Since then, the revolution has continued, as the extent of calibration has been extended ever further back and as the range of material that can be dated has been expanded. Now a new revolution beckons, one that could allow archaeology to engage in historical debate and usher in an entirely new kind of (pre)history. This paper focuses on more than a decade of experience in utilizing Bayesian approaches routinely for the interpretation of 14C dates in English archaeology, discussing both the practicalities of implementing these methods and their potential for changing archaeological thinking.