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Title: Great Britain and Ireland in 2200 BC
Other Titles: Grossbritannien und Irland um 2200 v. Chr.
Authors: Fitzpatrick, Andrew P.
First Published: 2015
Presented at: 2200 BC : a climatic breakdown as a cause for the collapse of the old world? : 7th Archaeological Conference of Central Germany, October 23-26, 2014 in Halle (Saale)
Start Date: 23-Oct-2014
End Date: 26-Oct-2014
Publisher: Landesmusuem für Vorgeschichte Halle
Citation: Fitzpatrick, AP, Great Britain and Ireland in 2200 BC, '2200 BC. Ein klimatsturz als Ursache für den Zerfall der Alten Welt? 7. Mitteldeutschen Archäologentag, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg/Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte, Halle, 23-6 October 2014', 1, Tagungen des Landesmusuem für Vorgeschichte Halle 12, Landesmusuem für Vorgeschichte Halle
Abstract: Britain and Ireland have a maritime and temperate climate and, in a European context, very good data sets of palaeo-climate proxies, particularly from wetlands in the west and north of the islands. It is interesting, therefore, that there is no consensus as to whether the 4.2 ka BP climate event can be identified. The event has not featured in recent discussions of the archaeology in the centuries either side of 2200 BC. Instead much recent work on the Late Neolithic in Britain and Ireland (c. 3000–2400 BC) has concentrated on monuments and landscapes. In contrast, recent work in England and Scotland on the 23rd century BC to the 21st century BC has concentrated on Bell Beaker and Early Bronze Age burials and grave goods and has emphasised the innovations in burial rites and material culture. By 2200 BC Britain and Ireland were ready to become one of the first regions in Europe to make a full and rapid transition from copper to bronze metallurgy and enter the Early Bronze Age. In comparison, the evidence for settlements has attracted much less attention. This is partly because the evidence for settlements is often ephemeral. Only a few plans of houses are known and most settlements are represented by scatters of pits and a few postholes. Field systems are also rare. In the past, this evidence was interpreted as indicating a pastoralist lifestyle, but it may indicate that settlements were small, perhaps for single families, that houses were insubstantial, and that settlements were not occupied for many years. However, the extent to which a mixed farming economy (i.e. cultivating crops and keeping livestock) was practised is a matter of debate. Recent surveys of radiocarbon-dated cereals suggest that few cereals were grown. While the rarity of evidence for cereals is partly due to the small number of settlements known, it is clear that cereal cultivation declined significantly after the Early Neolithic. This evidence for settlements and farming is consistent with that from burials. Although burials provide clear evidence for social ranking, only a few well-furnished graves are known, which would suggest that social hierarchies did not survive for many generations. Even if the 4.2 ka BP climate event were to be recognised across Britain and Ireland, the archaeological evidence presently available suggests that neither the social structures nor settlement patterns at 2200 BC were so large, complex or permanent, that climate change would have forced decisive social change in Britain and Ireland.
Version: Pre-print
Type: Conference Paper
Rights: Copyright © The Author(s), 2014.
Appears in Collections:Conference Papers & Presentations, School of Archaeology and Ancient History

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