Halsted, John Charles (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
The thesis explores themes of settlement location, settlement form and settlement mobility from the Late Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age in north-east Powys and Shropshire. The study utilises existing finds and monument data, and incorporates new data from targeted field survey and excavation. It incorporates comparative evidence from other regions of Britain and detailed comparative data from studies in neighbouring regions.
The study examines the evidence for settlement sites, the distribution of lithics in the landscape and the potential relationship between round barrows and settlement. The relationship between metalwork and settlement is examined as is the evidence for the presence of land division.
A potential greater frequency of activity in the vicinity of lowland ring ditches is suggested through lithic distributions within a transitory pattern of occupation. This is supported with new excavation evidence for ephemeral settlement activity. At a broader level a greater intensity of activity is apparent in lowland gravel terraces than in neighbouring wetland areas of Shropshire and that the study area is part of a wider region characterised by low lithic densities in contrast to neighbouring regions to the south.
Subtle spatial separations may have existed between settlement activity and monuments and the siting of monuments may have reflected existing axes of movement through the landscape. The distribution of upland monuments suggests that activities may have been relatively focussed and localised, whilst close conceptual links may have been maintained with lowland and distant landscapes.
The distribution of metalwork emphasises rivers, floodplains and wetland contexts which may have been at the margins of settlement space. At a broader level the presence of metalwork in lowland landscapes serves to complement limited evidence for Middle Bronze Age occupation and places Late Bronze Age hilltop enclosures into a wider context.
Targeted excavation has provided new dating evidence from pit alignment features in the study area which may indicate localised areas of land division closely post-dated ring ditch monuments in the Early Bronze Age. This may have implications for the interpretation of similar land divisions in other regions.
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