Neolithic Houses Do Not Grow On Archaeological Trees: Until Now


Our pals at Pasthorizons: adventuresinarchaeology have just released this.

FOUR NEOLITHIC HOUSES UNEARTHED AT QUARRY

Honestly, this is almost epochal. Neolithic habitations in England [at least] have been notoriously elusive. Much is due to the deforestation and resultant deflation of the landscape thanks to those very same, pesky Neolithickers. One of the four is shown below, from CEMEX’s Kingsmead Quarry in Berkshire, radiocarbon dated to between 3,800 AND 3,640 B.C.E. 
One of four Neolithic domestic structures in Berkshire. [Stolen, with thanks, from http://www.pasthorizons.com.]
A house this large is, to my way of thinking, evidence of what Brian Hayden has called corporate groups. One well-known example of this kind of social arrangement was visible in the ethnographic large plank houses on the northwest coast of North America. Each ‘house’ was more like a family business. Several related families would occupy the house and all would cooperate to exploit the environment in a cultural system that included frequent competitive feasts—feasts that did less than distribute wealth [as some archaeologists and anthropologists have claimed] and more to beggar other similar groups. Each guest at a ‘potlatch‘ would leave in debt, basically, to the family or person holding the party. If you’ve gone to the link to read up on the potlatch you’ll very quickly discover that the preponderance of anthropologists cleave to this idea of wealth redistribution. That’s pretty much caca in my book.
Anyway, onward to the past. 

As the folks at Pasthorizons will tell you, finding four such places is, to say the least, extraordinary. As you can see in the photo, this was an enormous structure, on the order of 10 m by 20 m. Finding this site is a good news story, archaeologically speaking. Let’s hope that CEMEX will see fit to conserve this unique settlement.

Stolen, with thanks, from http://www.pasthorizons.com 

That’s it for today!

SA announces new posts on the Subversive Archaeologist‘s facebook page (mirrored on Rob Gargett’s news feed), on Robert H. Gargett‘s Academia.edu page, Rob Gargett‘s twitter account, and his Google+ page. A few of you have already signed up to receive email when I post. Others have subscribed to the blog’s RSS feeds. You can also become a ‘member’ of the blog through Google Friend Connect. Thank you for your continued patronage. You’re the reason I do this.

I Really Don’t Give a Fig. But Maybe You Will. Origins of Agriculture People! This One’s for You.

This is probably news to no one but me. However, if Ofer Bar-Yosef is correct, and figs were the first domesticate in the Levant, it’d be more evidence in support of Brian Hayden‘s [and Hayden and Gargett‘s] competitive feasting theory for the origins of agriculture and of socioeconomic inequality.

     

Show your support for this blog. Remember that when you purchase from Amazon by clicking any of the links on the right, you’ll be getting great discounts and supporting the Subversive Archaeologist’s field activities at the same time!