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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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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 26 May 2022

The Future Neolithic

The Future Neolithic

A New Research Agenda

(p.21) 2 The Future Neolithic
Early Farmers

John Robb

British Academy

As for Shakespeare, every generation gets the Neolithic it deserves. This chapter discusses emerging views of what the Neolithic is and how to study it, with the thesis that recently there has been a quiet revolution in how we understand the Neolithic. A broad change in how Neolithic specialists understand the relationship between science and the humanities is envisioned, with the principal result that a new interpretive vocabulary, including a definition of the Neolithic, has arisen. This is illustrated with regard to changing understandings in the study of animals, plants, landscapes, things and monuments; for example, rather than being culture written on the material world, or material worlds determining culture, the practices of Neolithic life defined participation in a specific kind of historic process structured by these relations. The effects of changing perspectives are shown in, for example, multi-scalar approaches to both the origins and the end of the Neolithic.

Keywords:   Neolithic, science and humanities, interpretive vocabulary, culture, historical processes, multi-scalar approaches

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