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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.
Although I admire the scientific discipline, I frequently find myself wondering whether the traditional approach to science involving testable hypotheses, replication, statistical significance and repeatability is adequate to meet the challenge of understanding such things as the complexity of whole ecological systems without taking apart and destroying the very object of the study.
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