Investigations in the Bay of Firth, Mainland, Orkney (1994–2014)
Author: Colin Richards,Richard Jones
Publisher: Windgather Press
Category: Social Science
View: 617Considering that Orkney is a group of relatively small islands lying off the northeast coast of the Scottish mainland, its wealth of Neolithic archaeology is truly extraordinary. An assortment of houses, chambered cairns, stone circles, standing stones and passage graves provides an unusually comprehensive range of archaeological and architectural contexts. Yet, in the early 1990s, there was a noticeable imbalance between 4th and 3rd millennium cal BC evidence, with house structures, and ‘villages’ being well represented in the latter but minimally in the former. As elsewhere in the British Isles, the archaeological visibility of the 4th millennium cal BC in Orkney tends to be dominated by the monumental presence of chambered cairns or tombs. In the 1970s Claude Lévi-Strauss conceived of a form of social organization based upon the ‘house’ – sociétés à maisons – in order to provide a classification for social groups that appeared not to conform to established anthropological kinship structures. In this approach, the anchor point is the ‘house’, understood as a conceptual resource that is a consequence of a strategy of constructing and legitimizing identities under ever shifting social conditions. Drawing on the results of an extensive program of fieldwork in the Bay of Firth, Mainland Orkney, the text explores the idea that the physical appearance of the house is a potent resource for materializing the dichotomous alliance and descent principles apparent in the archaeological evidence for the early and later Neolithic of Orkney. It argues that some of the insights made by Lévi-Strauss in his basic formulation of sociétés à maisons are extremely relevant to interpreting the archaeological evidence and providing the parameters for a ‘social’ narrative of the material changes occurring in Orkney between the 4th and 2nd millennia cal BC. The major excavations undertaken during the Cuween-Wideford Landscape Project provided an unprecedented depth and variety of evidence for Neolithic occupation, bridging the gap between domestic and ceremonial architecture and form, exploring the transition from wood to stone and relationships between the living and the dead and the role of material culture. The results are described and discussed in detail here, enabling tracing of the development and fragmentation of sociétés à maisons over a 1500 year period of Northern Isles prehistory.
Orality, Memory and the Transmission of Culture
Author: Lynne Kelly
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Category: Social Science
View: 6788In this book, Lynne Kelly explores the role of formal knowledge systems in small-scale oral cultures in both historic and archaeological contexts. In the first part, she examines knowledge systems within historically recorded oral cultures, showing how the link between power and the control of knowledge is established. Analyzing the material mnemonic devices used by documented oral cultures, she demonstrates how early societies maintained a vast corpus of pragmatic information concerning animal behavior, plant properties, navigation, astronomy, genealogies, laws and trade agreements, among other matters. In the second part Kelly turns to the archaeological record of three sites, Chaco Canyon, Poverty Point and Stonehenge, offering new insights into the purpose of the monuments and associated decorated objects. This book demonstrates how an understanding of rational intellect, pragmatic knowledge and mnemonic technologies in prehistoric societies offers a new tool for analysis of monumental structures built by non-literate cultures.
The Geoarchaeological Perspective
Author: Lucy Wilson
Publisher: Geological Society of London
View: 3129Human impact on our environment is not a new phenomenon. For millennia, humans have been coping with - or provoking - environmental change. We have exploited, extracted, over-used, but also in many cases nurtured, the resources that the geosphere offers. Geoarchaeology studies the traces of human interactions with the geosphere and provides the key to recognizing landscape and environmental change, human impacts and the effects of environmental change on human societies. This collection of papers from around the world includes case studies and broader reviews covering the time period since before modern human beings came into existence up until the present day. To understand ourselves, we need to understand that our world is constantly changing, and that change is dynamic and complex. Geoarchaeology provides an inclusive and long-term view of human-geosphere interactions and serves as a valuable aid to those who try to determine sustainable policies for the future.
Author: Lynne Kelly
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Category: Social Science
View: 755The discovery of a powerful memory technique used by our Neolithic ancestors in their monumental memory places—and how we can use their secrets to train our own minds In ancient, pre-literate cultures across the globe, tribal elders had encyclopedic memories. They could name all the animals and plants across a landscape, identify the stars in the sky, and recite the history of their people. Yet today, most of us struggle to memorize more than a short poem. Using traditional Aboriginal Australian song lines as a starting point, Dr. Lynne Kelly has since identified the powerful memory technique used by our ancestors and indigenous people around the world. In turn, she has then discovered that this ancient memory technique is the secret purpose behind the great prehistoric monuments like Stonehenge, which have puzzled archaeologists for so long. The henges across northern Europe, the elaborate stone houses of New Mexico, huge animal shapes in Peru, the statues of Easter Island—these all serve as the most effective memory system ever invented by humans. They allowed people in non-literate cultures to memorize the vast amounts of information they needed to survive. But how? For the first time, Dr. Klly unlocks the secret of these monuments and their uses as "memory places" in her fascinating book. Additionally, The Memory Code also explains how we can use this ancient mnemonic technique to train our minds in the tradition of our forbearers.
Author: Amy Sackville
View: 4411Following her wonderful debut, The Still Point, Sackville returns with a strangely beautiful short novel about love and sex and obsession. A literature professor marries his prize student, a woman forty years his junior, and at her request he takes her to the say for their honeymoon. He is embarked on his life’s work, a book about enchantment-narratives in literature, most all of them involving strange girls and women, but soon finds himself distracted by his own enchantment for his new white-haired young wife. They travel to the Orkney Islands, the ancient Mesolithic and Neolithic site north of the Scottish coast, “the Seal Islands,” a barren place of extraordinary beauty. And as the days of their honeymoon pass his desire and his constant, yearning contemplation become his normality. His mysterious bride becomes his entire universe. He is consumed.
Author: William P. L. Thomson
Publisher: Birlinn Limited
View: 6898From the pre-history period, producing unrivalled monuments and the first appearance of Orkney as the Orchades of classical writers, this work traces 600 years of Scandinavian rule and the 500 year association of the islands with Scotland.
Author: Kenneth Brophy
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
View: 8809Archaeologists show us how the Neolithic human lived in mainland ScotlandWhat was life like in Scotland between 4000 and 2000BC? Where were people living? How did they treat their dead? Why did they spend so much time building extravagant ritual monuments? What was special about the relationship people had with trees and holes in the ground? What can we say about how people lived in the Neolithic and early Bronze Age of mainland Scotland where much of the evidence we have lies beneath the ploughsoil, or survives as slumped banks and ditches, or ruinous megaliths?Each contribution to this volume presents fresh research and radical new interpretations of the pits, postholes, ditches, rubbish dumps, human remains and broken potsherds left behind by our Neolithic forebears.From the APFWhat was life like in Scotland between 4000 and 2000BC? Where were people living? How did they treat their dead? Why did they spend so much time building extravagant ritual monuments? What was special about the relationship people had with trees? Why was so much time and effort spent digging holes and filling them back up again? What can we say about how people lived in the Neolithic and early Bronze Age of mainland Scotland where much of the evidence we have lies beneath the plough soil, or survives as slumped banks and filled ditches, or ruinous megaliths?This book will draw together leading experts and young researchers to present fresh research and outline radical new interpretations of the pits, postholes, ditches, rubbish dumps, human remains and broken potsherds left behind by our Neolithic forebears. Much of this evidence has come to light in the past few decades, putting the emphasis very much lowland, mainland Scotland as opposed to more famous Orcadian Neolithic sites. Inspired by the work of Gordon Barclay, the leading scholars of Scotland's Neolithic in the last 40 years, the chapters in this book offer a wide-ranging analysis of the evidence we have for the first farmers in Scotland.
Process, Temporality and Context
Author: Antonia Thomas
Publisher: Archaeopress Archaeology
View: 7782The Neolithic sites of Orkney include an impressive number of stone-built tombs, ceremonial monuments and - uniquely for northern Europe - contemporary dwellings. Many of these buildings survive in a remarkable state of preservation, allowing an understanding of the relationship between architectural space and the process of construction that is rarely achievable. Until recently, however, relatively little has been known about the decoration of these sites. This book addresses that gap to offer a groundbreaking analysis of Neolithic art and architecture in Orkney. Focussing upon the incredible collection of hundreds of decorated stones being revealed by the current excavations at the Ness of Brodgar, it details the results of the author's original fieldwork both there and at the contemporary sites of Maeshowe and Skara Brae, all within the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. It provides the first major discussion of Orkney's Neolithic carvings, and uses these as a springboard to challenge many of the traditional assumptions relating to Neolithic art and architecture. By foregrounding the architectural context of mark-making, this book explores how both buildings and carvings emerge though the embodied social practice of working stone, and how this relates to the wider context of life in Neolithic Orkney.
Author: C. R. Wickham-Jones
View: 5237The environmental crisis is one of the most pressing concerns to face the population of the world today. The debate centres on the way in which our current problems are of recent making and how we might fix them. But in reality the issue is far more fundamental and stretches back further in time than many of us might think. This book traces the origins of our present situation to the changes that came about with the introduction of farming to Britain 6000 years ago and the inexorable course of human development since then. This is a course which has set us on the path to catastrophe. However, there is hope. The book also looks at the much older traits from a way of life long gone in Britain, from the hunter-gatherers who lived here over the millennia before the introduction of farming. These traits, almost forgotten, but never quite lost, are now re-surfacing and may hold many of the keys to our continued existence.
Author: Anna Ritchie
Publisher: B T Batsford Limited
View: 794Examines the monuments of prehistoric Orkney, spanning a period from the earliest farmers, around 4000 BC, to the Viking onslaught, about AD 800. The quality of the building stone has helped to ensure the survival of these monuments, including: the Neolithic settlements of Skara Brae and Knap of Howar; the early chambered tombs at Midhowe, Maes Howe, Quoyness and Isbister; the stone circle of Stenness; the Ring of Brodgar; and the later brochs at Midhowe and Gurness.
Author: Doug Johnstone
Publisher: Faber & Faber
View: 848An adrenaline-charged thriller from the Kindle-bestselling author of Gone Again and Hit and Run. 'An unnerving tale of what happens to ordinary lives when the wheels come off.' VAL MCDERMID 'A haunting, unforgettable page-turner that ticks every excellence box in crime writing.' ALANNA KNIGHT Sitting in the departure lounge of Kirkwall Airport, Finn Sullivan just wants to get off Orkney. But then he meets the mysterious and dangerous Maddie Pierce, stepping in to save her from some unwanted attention, and his life is changed forever. Set against the brutal, unforgiving landscape of Orkney, CRASH LAND is a psychological thriller steeped in guilt, shame, lust, deception and murder.
Author: George Mackay Brown
Publisher: John Murray
View: 8737The small Orcadian community of Greevoe has remained unchanged for generations. Now a shady government project, Operation Black Star, threatens to destroy the islander's way of life. George Mackay Brown's first novel describes a week in the life of the islanders as the come to terms with the repercussions of Operation Black Star in a masterful mix of prose and poetry from one of Scotland's greatest writers.
Author: Amy Sackville
View: 971At the turn of the twentieth century, Arctic explorer Edward Mackley sets out to reach the North Pole and vanishes into the icy landscape without a trace. He leaves behind a young wife, Emily, who awaits his return for decades, her dreams and devotion gradually freezing into rigid widowhood. A hundred years later, on a sweltering mid-summer’s day, Edward’s great-grand-niece Julia moves through the old family house, attempting to impose some order on the clutter of inherited belongings and memories from that ill-fated expedition, and taking care to ignore the deepening cracks within her own marriage. But as afternoon turns into evening, Julia makes a discovery that splinters her long-held image of Edward and Emily’s romance, and her husband Simon faces a precipitous choice that will decide the future of their relationship. Sharply observed and deeply engaging, The Still Point is a powerful literary debut and a moving meditation on the distances – geographical and emotional – that can exist between two people.
A Thematic Study
Author: Clive L. N. Ruggles,Michel Cotte
Publisher: Ocarina Books/Oxbow Books
View: 6062This Thematic Study is a joint venture between ICOMOS, the advisory body to UNESCO on cultural sites, and the International Astronomical Union. It presents an overall vision on astronomical heritage, attempts to identify what constitutes "outstanding universal significance to humankind" in relation to astronomy, and identifies broad issues that could arise in the assessment of cultural properties relating to astronomy. This is the first Thematic Study in any field of science heritage. It is elaborated using examples of properties from around the world, including some already on the World Heritage List or national Tentative Lists. The subject matter ranges from early prehistory to modern astrophysics and space heritage, and also prominently includes dark sky issues and modern observatory sites. An e-version of the Thematic Study was published in June 2010 in time to be presented to the 2010 meeting of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, where it was duly approved. It has been circulated officially by the WHC to all of UNESCO's National Commissions. This full-colour paperback edition with some updates, and reformatted to new ICOMOS standards, was published in 2011 and is now offered for public sale.
Celtic Tales of the Seal-Folk
Author: David Thomson
Publisher: Canongate Books
View: 7278Introduced by Seamus Heaney. David Thomson?s travels in the Gaelic world of the Hebrides and the west coast of Ireland brought him into contact with a people whose association with the sea and its fertile lore runs deep. They told of men rescued by seals in stormy seas, of babies suckled by seal-mothers, and of men who took seal-women for wives ? stories centuries old, handed down to them by their forefathers. These mysterious and fascinating legends retain their spell-binding enchantment through the luminous quality of David Thomson?s prose. From an early age, he was fascinated by the mysterious interaction between man and the sea. In the Selkie legends he found the perfect expression of a Celtic world where truth and fiction intertwine, and his book is a window onto that vanished world. ?The People of the Sea survives not as a period piece but as a poetic achievement . . . readers will be carried away on successive waves of pleasure . . . these stories have an irresistible holistic beauty.? Seamus Heaney ?A splendid resurrection of a life that has almost vanished.? Daily Telegraph ?I know of few books which so ably open a window on the Gaelic scene today or which so faithfully reflect the mind, vigour and courtesy of its people . . . Pounds on the imagination like surf on a reef.? Observer