By Mark Edmonds

In addition to contributing to present debate in regards to the interpretation of fabric tradition, Dr Edmonds makes use of the facts of stone instruments to reassess the various significant horizons of swap in later British prehistory.

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Additional resources for Stone Tools and Society: Working Stone in Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain

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These fragments occasionally formed a lining or base for the pit as a whole. It is also common to find the bones of both domesticated and wild animals together with burnt residues of other organic materials and fragments of human bone. Many pits also contain cores, waste flakes and retouched tools. These may include items such as axes, laurel leaves and arrowheads, but it is more common to find scrapers or flakes. In certain cases, tools show signs of deliberate breakage. Nowhere are these characteristics more dramatically demonstrated than in the case of a large Earlier Neolithic pit on Coneybury Hill in Wiltshire.

Although they cannot be reduced to changes in subsistence, these new ways of thinking about the world had some of their roots in the character of everyday life. Wild resources remained important, but the shift to food production created the potential for changes in the manner in which relations between people were structured, in the perception of thresholds between culture and nature, and in conceptions of landscape and time. It may have been these potentials that were addressed through the construction and use of the first tombs and enclosures (fig.

Deliberate deposits in the ditches and forecourts of several tombs and at a number of enclosures add weight to the idea that the act of working was sometimes accorded a measure of symbolic significance. For the most part, we have tended to explain these deposits away as no more than the knapping of stone encountered during the digging of ditches. However, this seems difficult to sustain in cases where the patterning of flintwork in ditches respects the patterning of other materials. Nor can we dismiss the possibility of deliberate deposition where clusters of debris occur in the forecourts of particular tombs.

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