The beginning of the Neolithic in Britain is a topic of perennial interest in archaeology, marking the end of a hunter-gatherer way of life with the introduction of domesticated plants and animals, pottery, polished stone tools, and a range of new kinds of monuments, including earthen long barrows and megalithic tombs. Every year, numerous new articles are published on different aspects of the topic, ranging from diet and subsistence economy to population movement, architecture, and seafaring. Thomas offers a treatment that synthesizes all of this material, presenting a coherent argument to explain the process of transition between the Mesolithic-Neolithic periods.
Necessarily, the developments in Britain are put into the context of broader debates about the origins of agriculture in Europe, and the diversity of processes of change in different parts of the continent are explored. These are followed by a historiographic treatment of debates on the transition in Britain. Chapters cover the Mesolithic background, processes of contact and interaction, monumental architecture and timber halls, portable artefacts, and plants and animals. The concluding argument is that developments in the economy and material culture must be understood as being related to fundamental social transformations.
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