Fragments of the Bronze Age: The Destruction and Deposition of Metalwork in South-West Britain and its Wider Context [Hardback]

Matthew G. Knight(Author)

ISBN: 9781789256970 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: Prehistoric Society Research Papers | Volume: 13 | Year of Publication: 2022 | Language: English 200p, H11 x W8.5, B/w and color
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Fragments of the Bronze Age


The destruction and deposition of metalwork is a widely recognized phenomenon across Bronze Age Europe. Weapons were decommissioned and thrown into rivers; axes were fragmented and piled in hoards; and ornaments were crushed, contorted and placed in certain landscapes. Interpretation of this material is often considered in terms of whether such acts should be considered ritual offerings, or functional acts for storing, scrapping and recycling the metal. This book approaches this debate from a fresh perspective, by focusing on how the metalwork was destroyed and deposited as a means to understand the reasons behind the process.

To achieve this, this study draws on experimental archaeology, as well as developing a framework for assessing what can be considered deliberate destruction. Understanding these processes not only helps us to recognize how destruction happened, but also gives us insights into the individuals involved in these practices. Through an examination of metalwork from south-west Britain, it is possible to observe the complexities involved at a localized level in the acts of destruction and deposition, as well as how they were linked to people and places. This case study is used to consider the social role of destruction and deposition more broadly in the Bronze Age, highlighting how it transformed over time and space.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Approaches to destruction and deposition

3. Making Sense of the Pieces

4. South-west Britain and the application of a Damage Ranking System

5. The Chalcolithic-Early Bronze Age 2450-1500 BC

6. The Middle Bronze Age 1500-1150 BC

7. The Late Bronze Age-Earliest Bronze Age 1150-600 BC

8. The Social Role of Destruction and Deposition in the Bronze Age

9. Missing Pieces? Conclusions and outlook for the future


Appendix ADS online database

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