|Publication Date||March 13, 1992|
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The phrase 'stone age' has come to mean different things to different people. To some it implies denigration, and a lack of culture, but archaeologists increasingly regard it as a period of achievement. The climax of the stone age in Britain, the neolithic period (4700-2000 BC), was a period of startlingly varied achievement, and it is this phase that Rodney Castleden documents in this book.
Britain is astonishingly rich in neolithic sites, which supply us with evidence of the complex archaic societies that flourished the length and breadth of the island. At its highest development, the neolithic economy depended on networks of communication that spread right across into mainland Europe. The neolithic Britons created some magnificent monumental architecture at their cult centres, such as Avebury and Maes Howe.
All too often the remains of that neolithic world have survived only in severely damaged fragments, sometimes hastily retrieved with the limited resources of a rescue dig: yet even these provide us with valuable insights. Where more sustained work has been possible, as at Fengate, Avebury, Crickley Hill or Stonehenge, we can begin to see a more continuous image of the neolithic way of life.
Rodney Castleden lists and surveys a wide variety of domestic, ceremonial and burial sites, some of them recently discovered. He selects some of these for detailed description and explanation; from these a sense of the diversity and vitality of the neolithic communities emerges.
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