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This paper presents key results of the Making a Mark project (2014–2016), which aimed to provide a contextual framework for the analysis of mark making on portable artefacts in the British and Irish Neolithic by comparing them with other mark-making practices, including rock art and passage tomb art. The project used digital imaging techniques, including Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), and improved radiocarbon chronologies, to develop a new understanding of the character of mark making in the British and Irish Neolithic. Rather than considering this tradition in representational terms, as expression of human ideas, we focus on two kinds of relational material practices, the processes of marking and the production of skeuomorphs, and their emergent properties. We draw on Karen Barad's concept of ‘intra-action’ and Gilles Deleuze's notion of differentiation to understand the evolution and development of mark-making traditions and how they relate to other kinds of social practices over the course of the Neolithic.
The paper discusses the Garboldisham macehead: an unusual decorated macehead carved from red deer antler. The macehead was found in the 1960s deposited in a tributary of the river Little Ouse, Norfolk and is decorated with three spirals, making it especially significant. This paper reports on the analysis of the decoration using digital imaging, discusses a new radiocarbon date recently obtained for the artefact, and discusses its significance alongside other dated antler maceheads.
The art of Neolithic Britain and Ireland consists of a variety of curvilinear and geometric motifs pecked into stone (in open-air rock art or passage tombs) or carved into portable artefacts of chalk, stone or antler. Because of its abstract nature the art has proved problematic for archaeologists. Initially archaeologists assumed the art was representational; now most scholars have abandoned this view, and simply approach the art stylistically. Here I argue that stylistic analysis is insufficient to understand this art: instead the process of making provides a fuller understanding of this art. It is argued that the practice of assemblage is a key aspect of the process of making.
Assemblage is a concept common to a number of academic disciplines, most notably archaeology and art, but also geology and palaeontology. Archaeology can claim a special link to the term assemblage, though novel approaches to the concept of assemblage have recently been adopted from the fields of philosophy and political theory. These approaches, bracketed under the term ‘new materialism’, are discussed here. The introduction to this collection of papers outlines these approaches and evaluates their usefulness for archaeological practice and interpretation.
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.
The Folkton ‘Drums’ constitute three of the most remarkable decorated objects from Neolithic Britain. New analysis using Reflectance Transformation Imaging and photogrammetry has revealed evidence for previously unrecorded motifs, erasure and reworking. Hence these chalk drums were not decorated according to a single, pre-ordained scheme, but were successively carved and recarved over time. Such practices may have been widespread in the making of artefacts in Neolithic Britain. The study of these drums also demonstrates the ability of these new techniques not only to record visible motifs, but to document erased and reworked motifs clearly.
I warmly welcome Gavin Lucas's discussion of time and contemporaneity. I view this as another component of a sustained (and much-needed) investigation of the ontological character of archaeology. Gavin Lucas is presently at the forefront of this line of enquiry. His analysis is much more than an exploration of the ontology of archaeology. It is also a radical rethinking of the basis of the discipline. His analysis takes us back to ‘first principles’ and reveals unexpected and thought-provoking conclusions. Excitingly, his discussion touches upon the very basis of archaeological chronologies and archaeological stratigraphies, and forces us to think about them afresh. Worsaae, Montelius, Childe: these figures stalk the pages of elementary textbooks on archaeology, yet Lucas's analysis allows us not only to appreciate their analytical skills, but also to rethink and question them.
En route to becoming one of archaeology's best-known writers on prehistoric landscapes and monuments, Richard Bradley had a brief brush with the law and almost became a Romanist! Here he reflects on his early archaeological forays as a boy, his perspectives on different field methodologies, and how his ways of writing have changed over the years.
Different definitions of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have different psychiatric exclusion criteria and this affects the type and frequency of associated psychiatric morbidity found. The operational criteria for neuraesthenia in ICD–10 vary in this and other respects from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria for CFS. Neuraesthenia and associated psychiatric morbidity in CDC-defined CFS are evaluated.
CFS subjects and controls were interviewed with the Schedule for the Clinical Assessment of Neuropsychiatry (SCAN). The computerised scoring program for SCAN (CATEG05) facilitates the assignment of operational definitions according to DSM–III–R and ICD–10. Subjects were re-interviewed with SCAN an average of 11 months later. No specific treatments or interventions were given during this period.
The majority of subjects fulfilled ICD–10 operational criteria for neuraesthenia and had two and a half times the rate of psychiatric morbidity as the healthy comparison group according to the CATEG05 Index of Definition (ID). Approximately 80% of subjects fulfilled both DSM–III–R and ICD–10 criteria for sleep disorders. There was a significant fall in the number of subjects fulfilling criteria for depression and anxiety disorders and a significant increase in the number of subjects with no diagnosis for DSM–III–R criteria over time. There were no significant changes over time for any diagnosis according to ICD–10 criteria or for overall levels of psychopathology as reflected in CATEG05 ID levels.
The ICD–10 ‘neuraesthenia’ definition identifies almost all subjects with CDC-defined CFS. Fifty per cent of CFS subjects also had depressive or anxiety disorders, some categories of which remit spontaneously over time.
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