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A Geography of Offerings (Paperback)

Deposits of Valuables in the Landscapes of Ancient Europe

Ancient History > Prehistory > European Prehistory P&S History > Archaeology > Archaeological Method & Theory P&S History > Archaeology > European Archaeology

Imprint: Oxbow Books
Series: Oxbow Insights in Archaeology
Pages: 160
Illustrations: b/w and colour
ISBN: 9781785704772
Published: 31st December 2016
Casemate UK Academic

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More than quarter of a century ago Richard Bradley published The Passage of Arms. It was conceived as An Archaeological Analysis of Prehistoric Hoards and Votive Deposits, but, as the author concedes, these terms were too narrowly focused for the complex subject of deliberate deposition and the period covered too short. A Geography of Offerings has been written to provoke a reaction from archaeologists and has two main aims. The first is to move this kind of archaeology away from the minute study of ancient objects to a more ambitious analysis of ancient places and landscapes. The second is to recognise that problems of interpretation are not restricted to the pre-Roman period. Mesolithic finds have a place in this discussion, and so do those of the 1st millennium AD. Archaeologists studying individual periods confront with similar problems and the same debates are repeated within separate groups of scholars – but they arrive at different conclusions. Here, the author presents a review that brings these discussions together and extends across the entire sequence. Rather than offer a comprehensive survey, this is an extended essay about the strengths and weaknesses of current thinking regarding specialised deposits, which encompass both sacrificial deposits characterised by large quantities of animal and human bones and other collections which are dominated by finds of stone or metal artefacts. It considers current approaches and theory, the histories of individual artefacts and the landscape and physical context of the of places where they were deposited, the character of materials, the importance of animism and the character of ancient cosmologies.

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