A Geography of Offerings: Deposits of Valuables in the Landscapes of Ancient Europe [Paperback]

Richard Bradley(Author)

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ISBN: 9781785704772 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: Oxbow Insights in Archaeology | Volume: 3 | Year of Publication: 2017 | 1st | Language: English 160p, H8.26 x W5.75, b/w and color
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A Geography of Offerings

Details

More than quarter of a century ago Richard Bradley published The Passage of Arms. It was conceived as An Archaeological Analysis of Prehistoric Hoards and Votive Deposits, but, as the author concedes, these terms were too narrowly focused for the complex subject of deliberate deposition and the period covered too short. A Geography of Offerings has been written to provoke a reaction from archaeologists and has two main aims. The first is to move this kind of archaeology away from the minute study of ancient objects to a more ambitious analysis of ancient places and landscapes. The second is to recognize that problems of interpretation are not restricted to the pre-Roman period. Mesolithic finds have a place in this discussion, and so do those of the 1st millennium AD. Archaeologists studying individual periods confront with similar problems and the same debates are repeated within separate groups of scholars – but they arrive at different conclusions. Here, the author presents a review that brings these discussions together and extends across the entire sequence. Rather than offer a comprehensive survey, this is an extended essay about the strengths and weaknesses of current thinking regarding specialized deposits, which encompass both sacrificial deposits characterized by large quantities of animal and human bones and other collections which are dominated by finds of stone or metal artifacts. It considers current approaches and theory, the histories of individual artifacts and the landscape and physical context of the of places where they were deposited, the character of materials, the importance of animism and the character of ancient cosmologies.

Table of Contents

Chapter One Beginning again

Chapter Two A chapter of accidents
The Broadward hoard
The Mästermyr hoard
Reassessments
Bridges and troubled waters
Iron Age deposits at La Tène
Roman artefacts from the Rhine near Mainz
Reassessments
Literary sources
Ritual and non-ritual, religious and secular deposits
The ubiquity of water
Hidden in plain sight

Chapter Three Faultlines in contemporary research
Chronological faultlines
Controversy and uncertainty
The sources of confusion
Unfinished business
The next stage

Chapter Four Proportional representation
The variety of deposits
Excavations at two spring deposits
Excavations at other wetland deposits
Excavations at dryland deposits
A question of scale
A question of time
Summary

Chapter five The hoard as a still life
Pronkstillevens
Accumulations
Display
Summary and conclusions

Chapter Six The nature of things
Technologies and myths
Stone and metal
Metals

Chapter Seven A kind of regeneration
The final act
Whole and undamaged artefacts
Incomplete or damaged artefacts
Friendly fire
Fragmentation
Weights
Numbers
the last act

Chapter 8 Vanishing point
Sinking treasures
Giving and taking
Artefacts with attitude
Profiting from loss
Exquisite corpses

Chapter Nine A guide to strange places
Naming places
Going under
Going forward
Northern lights
Southern comforts
A note of caution

Chapter 10 Thresholds and transitions
Introduction
Bridges, fords and causeways
Other kinds of boundaries
River names and their associations
The character of water
The character of mountains
The earth compels
A final reflection

Reviews & Quotes

"“What [ Bradley ] has offered, in this relatively slim publication, is a wealth of challenging and inspirational ideas. A Geography of Offerings has been written to provoke a debate. Let us hope that debate is just as fruitful as this thoughtful catalyst.” "
John Manley
(Issue 326. May 2017)

"“…it is a well-researched project that should endow the specialist with resourceful information on specific Western and Northern European deposits and votive offerings, as well as providing insights to the average reader in search of alternative ways of understanding depositional practices.” "

()

"“Big vision, thoughtful exploration, and imaginative reconstruction, grasp of an enormous literature: these are the strengths of this relatively short but distinctive work.”"

()

"“A pocket-sized archaeology book that is packed full of useful information…accessible both to those new to the subject and to those with a detailed knowledge of individual periods or types of evidence.” "
Sophia Adams
(May 2017)

"Building upon, but greatly expanding, his earlier influential work, this small book will be widely read and much appreciated for the way in which it demonstrates that ‘big data’ also require big ideas."
Robert Witcher
()

"“You can always rely on Richard Bradley for a thought-provoking read, and this essay will not disappoint… as this wide-ranging exploration shows, the reward of thinking creatively about such finds is to open up new ways of approaching these fascinating assemblages.”"

()

"“The relatively small size of this book belies its ambition. A Geography of Offerings is as accessible as it is erudite, and will appeal to anyone with an interest in ancient landscapes and specialised deposits, regardless of specialism… a fresh perspective on a subject that I believed could not be usefully reconsidered. Bradley has proven me wrong.” "

()

""The book achieves its purpose to encourage contemplation of the geography of these distinctive deposits and to encourage further research and further thought on this intriguing but loaded matter. It is a useful addition to the Oxbow Insights In Archaeology series and an enjoyable read that engenders debate as the author intended.""

The Prehistoric Society ()

"“…it is a well-researched project that should endow the specialist with resourceful information on specific Western and Northern European deposits and votive offerings, as well as providing insights to the average reader in search of alternative ways of understanding depositional practices.” "

Papers from the Institute of Archaeology ()

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