Lives in Land – Mucking Excavations [Hardback]

Christopher Evans (Author); Grahame Appleby (Author); Sam Lucy (Author)

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ISBN: 9781785701481 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Volume: 1 | Year of Publication: 2015 | Language: English 640p, H297 x W210 (mm)

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Lives in Land – Mucking Excavations


The excavations led by Margaret and Tom Jones on the Thames gravel terraces at Mucking, Essex, undertaken between 1965 and 1978 are legendary. The largest area excavation ever undertaken in the British Isles, involving around 5000 participants, recorded around 44,000 archaeological features dating from the Beaker to Anglo-Saxon periods and recovered something in the region of 1.7 million finds of Mesolithic to post-medieval date. While various publications have emerged over the intervening years, the death of both directors, insufficient funding, many organisational complications and the sheer volume of material evidence have severely delayed full publication of this extraordinary palimpsest landscape.

Lives in Land is the first of two major volumes which bring together all the evidence from Mucking, presenting both the detail of many important structures and assemblages and a comprehensive synthesis of landscape development through the ages: settlement histories, changing land-use, death and burial, industry and craft activities. The long time-gap since completion of the excavations has allowed the authors the unprecedented opportunity to stand back from the density of site data and place the vast sum of Mucking evidence in the wider context of the archaeology of southern England throughout the major periods of occupation and activity.

Lives in Land begins with a thorough evaluation of the methods, philosophy and archival status of the Mucking project against the organisational and funding background of its time, and discusses its fascinating and complex history through a period of fundamental change in archaeological practice, legislation, finance, research priorities and theoretical paradigms in British Archaeology. Subsequent chapters deal with the prehistoric landscape, each focusing on the major themes that emerge by major period from analysis and synthesis of the data. The authors draw on archival material including site notebooks and personal accounts from key participants to provide a detailed but lively account of this iconic landscape investigation.

Table of Contents

Project Context Acknowledgements ix
Summary xi
Résumé xii
Zusammenfassung xiii
Chapter One: Introduction Landscape and Archival Palimpsests 1
Total Archaeology 2
Framing Context 10
Notebook Archaeology 14
Project Framing (I) - Thinking Graphically (Mucking’s ‘Phase-wall’) 27
Archive as Palimpsest 32
Chapter Two: Scattered Usage and First All otment Mesolithic to Middle Bronze Age 45
Mucking and the Palaeogeography of the Thames Estuary Peter Murphy 48
Tracings - Mesolithic to Early Bronze Age Activity 50
The Worked Flint Elizabeth Healey 52
Mesolithic/Earlier Neolithic 66
Pottery Ian Kinnes and Mark Birley 70
Grooved Ware 70
Pottery Mark Birley 71
Mucking’s Grooved Ware Revisited Mark Knight 77
Worked Flint Elizabeth Healey 78
Beaker 79
Graves 79
Other Features 82
Pottery Alex Gibson 83
Worked Flint Elizabeth Healey 88
Earlier/Middle Bronze Age 88
Barrows 88
The Fieldsystem 99
Settlement and Other Features 104
Pottery Nigel Brown 105
Recollections (I) - Fieldwork 110
Discussion 119
Chapter Three: The Rings Late Bronze Age
Late Bronze Age Pottery Groups Matt Brudenell 129
The North Field Settlement 133
Clay pits 133
Pink pits 133
The South Rings (with John Etté) 142
Distributions 157
Material Culture 158
Flint Elizabeth Healey 158
Late Bronze Age Pottery Matt Brudenell 158
Metalwork and Metalworking 187
Metalwork (Ben Roberts) 188
Bronze Casting at Mucking: The Refractory Evidence (Margaret Jones and Hilary Howard) 190
Miscellaneous Small Finds 193
Fired Clay Paul Barford 194
Quernstones David Buckley and Hilary Major 197
Economic and Other Data 200
Animal Bone Geraldene Done 200
Fired Clay Sources Paul Barford, with Ailsa Mainman 203
Appreciation: Margaret Jones - A Legacy of Formidable Field Women Anwen Cooper and Julia Roberts 204
Discussion 208
Baseline Matters - Dating and Economy 208
Layout, Deposition and Status 211
Ringwork Communities and ‘Monumental Resonance’ 21
Chapter Four: Compounding Spaces and Connected Communities Iron Age (I) 219
Early Iron Age 227
Pottery Matthew Brudenell 233
The Structures 240
Roundhouses 242
Rectangular Posthole Structures 270
Rectangular Post-Hole Settings (Margaret Jones, with a contribution by Paul Barford) 270
‘Posters’ and Others 273
Enclosures 277
The ABC Enclosures 280
RBI and Adjacent Settlement 284
The North Enclosure and Northern Boundary System 291
The 1100 Enclosure (Prehistoric Cemetery II and other Western-margin Interments) 303
The Belgic Banjo Complex (and Prehistoric Cemetery III) 311
Recollections (II) - Post-Excavation and Aftermath 329
The Plaza, Other Parts and Landscape Development 336
The Plaza (and Prehistoric Cemetery IV) 336
Other Components 349
Cemetery V 352
The Conquest Period and Early Roman Landscape 355
Chapter Five: Specialist Studies and Summation of Parts Iron Age (II) 365
Material Culture 365
Middle Iron Age Pottery Matt Brudenell 365
Late Iron Age Pottery - An Overview Isobel Thompson 394
Iron Age Coins Colin Haselgrove 401
Brooches Colin Haselgrove 402
Other Metalwork 412
Copper Alloy (Grahame Appleby) 412
Ironwork (Quita Mould) 416
Metalworking Evidence 417
Crucibles, Moulds and Tuyères (David Dungworth and Justine Bayley) 417
Bronze Casting: Refractory Evidence (Hilary Howard) 424
Quernstones 424
Loomweights and Spindlewhorls Paul Barford 425
Other Fired Clay 427
Tournettes (Paul Barford) 429
Economic and Environmental Data 431
Fauna Remains Vida Rajkovača 432
Pollen James Greig 436
Project Framing (II) - Charting Influence (and Difference) 436
‘Style in Landscape’ - Distributional Case-studies 438
‘Type’ Metalwork - Coins and Brooches 439
La Tène Wares and Marked Bases 441
Late Iron Age Assemblages - ‘Belgic’ and Conquest Period Wares 446
Discussion - Connected Communities 454
Enclosure Models and ‘Logics’ 454
Landscape Divides and the Lie of Land 457
Settlement Resourcing and Status 460
Later Iron Age Ceremonial/Household Architectures and Funerary Practices 465
Chapter Six: Patterned Ground/Interim Knowledges Sequence Revisited and Retrospect 477
The Recommendation of Land 479
Sequence Revisited and Settlement ‘Scaling’ 482
Mucking and the Prehistory of the Lower Thames Timothy Champion 482
Romano-British 487
Anglo-Saxon 489
Medieval and Post-Medieval 493
The South Essex Marshes in the Medieval and post-Medieval Periods (Stephen Rippon) 496
Gauging Settlement - Comparative Context 505
Different Lives - Continuities, Territories and Power 513
Project Framing (III) - Thinking Archives 526
Hindsights - Marking Time 530
Bibliography 535
Index 553

Reviews & Quotes

"This present volume is a celebration in many ways of not just the site itself and its important sets of material and finds but also of the way we arrived where we have today in terms of how we view landscape archaeology and how we now excavate whilst looking beyond the edges of the trenches."
Stephen G. Upex
Landscape History (16/05/2017)

"Essential reading for archaeologists concerned with British Prehistory."
Terry Manby
British Archaeology

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