While the concept 'landscape' enjoys considerable popularity in archaeological interpretation, it is somewhat ill-defined and inconsistently used. Some have suggested that this fluidity allows landscape to be a 'usefully ambiguous concept' but at times there is a danger that this very ambiguity affords imprecision in our narratives. This is particularly important where differing traditions of archaeological interpretation meet, as, for example, in the transition from hunting and gathering to farming. The transition has been understood as a major division in archaeological practice and attitudes to 'landscape' across the transition reflect this dichotomy. The results of these debates are illuminating, and raise questions beyond the immediate geographical scope of the volume. The contrast between the two regions provides valuable comparisons between traditions of archaeological theory and interpretation and the bodies of evidence.
Bill Finlayson is the Director of the Council for British Research in the Levant, Graeme Warren is a College Lecturer in the School of Archaeology, UCD, Ireland.
Table of Contents
edited by Bill Finlayson and Graeme Warren
1. Introduction: Landscapes in Transition
Bill Finlayson and Graeme Warren
Part One: Changing Landscapes: Process and Scale
2. Different Ways of Being, Different Ways of Seeing … Changing Worldviews in the Near East
(Nigel Goring-Morris and Anna Belfer-Cohen)
3. From Big Beat to Bebop: Settlement Between 6000 and 3000 BC in the Fenland Basin (UK)
4. People and Their Places at the End of the Pleistocene: Evaluating Perspectives on Physical and Cultural Landscape Change
5. Subsistence at 4000–3700 cal BC: Landscapes of Change or Continuity?
6. A Geological Perspective on Climatic and Environmental Change in the Levant and Eastern Mediterranean from 25,000 to 5000 years BP
(Stuart A. Robinson and Stuart Black, Bruce W. Sellwood, Claire M. C. Rambeau and Paul J. Valdes)
7. The Case for Climatic Stress Forcing Choice in the Adoption of Agriculture in the British Isles
8. Changing Landscapes – Changing Societies? An Anthropological Perspective
Part Two: Moving Landscapes: Worldviews and Contact
9. The Neolithization of Britain and Ireland: The ‘Big Picture’
10. Changing People, Changing Environments: How Hunter-Gatherers Became Communities that Changed the World
11. Formalizing the Sacred? The Late Mesolithic and Early Neolithic Monumental Landscapes of Britain and Ireland
12. ‘Islanding’ the Mesolithic–Neolithic Transition: Approaches to Landscapes of Contact and Transformation in Northwest Europe
13. Reconsidering Early Holocene Cyprus within the Eastern Mediterranean Landscape
(Carole McCartney, Sturt W. Manning, David Sewell and Sarah T. Stewart)
14. The Last of the Old: A Homogeneous Later Mesolithic Ireland?
Part Three: Landscapes of Settlement
15. Farmers, Gatherers or Horticulturalists? Reconstructing Landscapes of Practice in the Early Neolithic
(Eleni Asouti and Andrew S. Fairbairn)
16. Modelling the Agricultural Impacts of the Earliest Large Villages at the Pre-Pottery Neolithic–Pottery Neolithic Transition
17. Taskscapes and the Transition
18. From Mega-Sites to Farmsteads: Community Size, Ideology and the Nature of Early Farming Landscapes in Western Asia and Europe
(Amy Bogaard and Valasia Isaakidou)
19. The Temporality of Materials: Occupation Practices in Eastern England During the 5th and 4th Millennia BC
Part Four: Conclusion
20 Time, Scale, Practice: Landscapes in Transition?
(Bill Finlayson and Graeme Warren)
Reviews & Quotes
"Landscapes in Transition provides a good overview of the state of the study of the Neolithic transition in both Britain/Ireland and in the Levant... For any scholar interested in the Neolithic transition in Eurasia, this book will be a welcome contribution."
Bleda S. Düring
The Holocene (June 2011)
"The papers as a group typify the tensions and challenges in trying to explain major transformations in the archaeological record - shifts at a global scale in terms of the beginnings of farming - without falling back on simplistic linear models of causality (‘this cause usually resulted in this effect’), whilst also acknowledging the importance of the local, of individual actors, of historically contingent decisionmaking. The collection does not provide the answers, but it underscores the importance of different scales of analysis.'"
Landscape History, vol 32, No. 1 (2011)