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The Catholme Ceremonial Complex, Staffordshire, UK

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 March 2013

Henry P. Chapman
Affiliation:
IBM Visual & Spatial Technology Centre, Birmingham Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK, B15 2TT
Mark Hewson
Affiliation:
Atkins Heritage Water & Environment, The Axis, 10 Holliday Street, Birmingham, UK, B1 1TF
Margaret S. Watters
Affiliation:
IBM Visual & Spatial Technology Centre, Birmingham Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK, B15 2TT

Abstract

During the 1960s and 1970s, aerial reconnaissance on the northern side of the confluence of the Rivers Trent, Tame, and Mease in Staffordshire revealed a cluster of features indicative of prehistoric ceremonial activity. Some of the features within the cluster are morphologically unique, but a lack of previous investigation meant that their dating, phasing, and function were unknown. This paper details the results of a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing these questions about the complex and to place it into its contemporary landscape context. The results indicate that the complex represents numerous phases of symbolic and ceremonial activity extending from the late Neolithic and into the early Bronze Age. Furthermore, it has shown how these structures fit within a wider landscape of ceremonial activity extending back to the earlier Neolithic and continuing into the Bronze Age.

Résumé

Au cours des années 1960 et 1970, des reconnaissances aériennes du côté nord du confluent des rivières Trent, Tame, et Mease dans le Staffordshire ont révélé un groupe de vestiges témoignant d'une activité cérémonielle préhistorique. Certains des vestiges de ce groupe se sont avérés uniques par leur morphologie, mais l'absence d'investigation antérieure signifiait que leur datation, leur évolution et leur fonction nous restaient inconnues. Cette étude détaillée relate les résultats d'une approche multidisciplinaire pour trouver la solution aux questions soulevées par ce complexe et le placer dans le contexte du paysage contemporain. Les résultats indiquent que le complexe représente de nombreuses phases d'activité symbolique et cérémonielle qui s'étendent du néolithique final jusqu'au début de l'âge du bronze. De plus, ils ont montré comment ces structures se positionnaient dans le cadre du paysage plus étendu d'activités cérémonielles remontant au néolithique ancien et se prolongeant à l'âge du bronze.

Résumen

Durante los años 60 y 70, el reconocimiento aéreo del lado norte de la confluencia de los ríos Trent, Tame y Mease en Staffordshire reveló un grupo de estructuras indicativas de actividad ceremonial prehistórica. Algunas de las estructuras del grupo son morfológicamente únicas, pero la falta de investigación previa significó que su datación, sus fases, y su función eran desconocidas. Este trabajo detalla los resultados de un enfoque multidisciplinario para tratar de estas preguntas acerca del complejo y ponerlo en el contexto contemporáneo de su paisaje. Los resultados indican que el complejo representa numerosas fases de actividad simbólica y ceremonial que se extienden desde el Neolítico tardío hasta la Primera Edad del Bronce. Además, se ha demostrado cómo estas estructuras encajan en un paisaje más amplio de actividad ceremonial que se remonta al Primer Neolítico y continúa hasta comenzada la Edad del Bronce.

Zusammenfassung

Bei Lufterkundungen wurde in den 1960er und 1970er Jahren eine Gruppe von Befunden nördlich des Zusammenflusses der Flüsse Trent, Tame und Mease in Staffordshire erkannt, die auf prähistorische kultische Praktiken hinwiesen. Einige der Befunde sind morphologisch einzigartig, doch durch den bisherigen Mangel an Untersuchungen waren ihre Datierung, Epochenstellung und Funktion unbekannt. In diesem Beitrag werden die Ergebnisse einer multidisziplinären Untersuchung vorgestellt, mit denen Antworten auf diese Fragen gesucht wurden und der Zeremonialkomplex in seinen räumlichen und zeitlichen Kontext gestellt wurde. Die Resultate lassen den Schluss zu, dass der Komplex zahlreiche Phasen symbolischer und zeremonieller Aktivitäten repräsentiert, die vom späten Neolithikum bis in die frühe Bronzezeit reichen. Darüber hinaus kann gezeigt werden, wie die Befunde in eine ausgedehnte Landschaft zeremonieller Aktivitäten eingebunden sind, die bis in das frühe Neolithikum zurück reichen und sich in die Bronzezeit hinein fortsetzen.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Prehistoric Society 2010

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