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Early FarmersThe View from Archaeology and Science$
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Alasdair Whittle and Penny Bickle

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265758

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265758.001.0001

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Constructing a Narrative for the Neolithic of Britain and Ireland

Constructing a Narrative for the Neolithic of Britain and Ireland

The Use of ‘Hard Science’ and Archaeological Reasoning

(p.369) 19 Constructing a Narrative for the Neolithic of Britain and Ireland
Early Farmers

Alison Sheridan

Pierre Pétrequin

British Academy

Case studies are presented to discuss various ways, good and bad, in which ‘hard science’ has been used to construct aspects of the Neolithic of Britain and Ireland. The use of radiocarbon dating and dietary evidence to characterise the Neolithisation process is reviewed; the disjunction between existing archaeological narratives and the results of a genetic and morphometric analysis of the Orkney vole as a Neolithic arrival in Orkney is considered; and the reasons for the success of Projet JADE, a major international research programme investigating axeheads and other artefacts made of jadeitite and other alpine rocks, are explored. Conclusions are reached about the way in which ‘hard science’ can be used to inform archaeological narratives (and vice versa).

Keywords:   British and Irish Neolithic, Neolithisation, archaeology and science, Orkney vole, Projet JADE

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