Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Excavation of islands around Britain to establish origins of Neolithic period

Date:
September 23, 2011
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
Archaeologists are investigating three island groups around Britain to help understand why people changed from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to farming the land.

Archaeologists in Southampton and Liverpool are investigating three island groups around Britain to help understand why people changed from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to farming the land.

Academics from the Universities of Southampton and Liverpool are hoping to shed new light on the longstanding debate about whether this change around 4,000BC was due to colonists moving into Britain or if the indigenous population of Britain gradually adopted the new agricultural lifestyle themselves.

The archaeologists will be excavating three island groups in the western seaways -- the Channel Islands, the Isles of Scilly and the Outer Hebrides -- to understand what sailing across this area would have been like in 4,000BC.

The project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), will build on work at Southampton into how environments and the sea changed over the Neolithic period.

Dr Fraser Sturt, from the Centre for Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southampton, says: "How people changed from hunter-gatherers to agricultural lifestyles is one of the big questions in archaeology.

"We know that the first signs of domestication occurred in the Middle East around 10,000BC and reached France by 5,000BC. However, it appears to be another 1,000 years before Neolithic farming activities reached Britain.

"We are investigating why this happened by looking at changing social practices, possible environmental impacts and the nature of maritime technology and communication."

Recent archaeological findings, such as French pottery in Scotland, suggest that colonisation from the continent could be one possible explanation for this shift in lifestyle. Studies show that the first colonists are likely to have travelled across the western seaways but there has been very little excavation of the islands to prove this theory.

Dr Duncan Garrow, from the University of Liverpool's School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, adds: "Archaeological findings, such as the bones of farm cattle from the fifth millennium BC and European pottery, and advances in radiocarbon techniques have given new life to the theory that European colonists settled in Britain and brought farming practices with them. To understand how possible this could have been, however, we need to turn our attention away from the mainland and towards the seas that form an important travel link between the islands around Britain.

"We are excavating on the Channel Islands, Isles of Scilly and in the Outer Hebrides, which form part of an important maritime zone that surprisingly has been given little scholarly attention in the past. We are constructing a database of all known fifth and fourth millennium occupation sites in and around each island group and starting a programme of radiocarbon dating to understand the chronology of activity within the western seaways.

"Our oceanographic work aims to explore the environmental context within which this transition took place and how seafaring activities impacted on people's lifestyles. We hope that the environmental data will also be valuable to oceanographers and geographers for studying how the sea has changed over the centuries."

The team's findings will also be available to school children and the general public through the development of a series of web resources, including a navigation game on prehistoric seafaring.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "Excavation of islands around Britain to establish origins of Neolithic period." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110923125414.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2011, September 23). Excavation of islands around Britain to establish origins of Neolithic period. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110923125414.htm
University of Southampton. "Excavation of islands around Britain to establish origins of Neolithic period." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110923125414.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

2,000 Year Old Pre-Inca Cloak on Display in Lima

2,000 Year Old Pre-Inca Cloak on Display in Lima

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) A 2,000 year-old Pre-Inca cloak that is believed to represent an agricultural calendar of the Paracas culture is on display in Lima. Duration: 00:39 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Original Mozart Sonata Manuscript Found in Budapest

Original Mozart Sonata Manuscript Found in Budapest

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Considered lost for over two centuries, the original manuscript of one of the most famous works of Mozart's Sonata in A major has been uncovered in a library in Budapest. Duration: 01:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Underground Art Reveals WW1 Soldiers' Hopes and Fears

Underground Art Reveals WW1 Soldiers' Hopes and Fears

AFP (Sep. 25, 2014) American doctor and photographer Jeff Gusky reveals the underground quarries used by the soldiers of World War One, and the artwork they left behind which illustrates their hopes and fears. Duration: 02:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Ice Age Wooly Mammoth Remains for Sale

Raw: Ice Age Wooly Mammoth Remains for Sale

AP (Sep. 23, 2014) A rare, well-preserved skeleton of a woolly mammoth is going on sale at Summers Place Auctions hope the 11.5-foot tall, almost intact specimen will fetch between $245,000 to $409,000. (Sept. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins