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People and Water: A study of the relationship between humans and rivers in the Mesolithic and Neolithic with particular reference to that within the Thames Basin

Haughey, FM; (2009) People and Water: A study of the relationship between humans and rivers in the Mesolithic and Neolithic with particular reference to that within the Thames Basin. Doctoral thesis , University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

Rivers and their associated wetlands and lakes form a major component in the landscape and yet discussions concerning their usage in early prehistory are rarely undertaken in Britain and Ireland. Exceptions to this have included the work on the Severn, the Shannon and the Humber estuaries. The Thames forms one of the biggest river systems within England and yet modern writers have undervalued it as a resource of early communities. The work within the Thames basin had been somewhat piecemeal with, until recently, attention being focussed primarily on the non-tidal parts of the river system. A consideration of the Mesolithic period had also not been undertaken. The relationship between hunter-gatherers and early farming communities and freshwater resources is examined within two major themes. The first is that of an economic nature (provider of sustenance and raw materials, communication, transport, choice of settlement site) and the second, experiential/symbolic (ritual deposition, sacred and burial sites, rock art). The two themes are not mutually exclusive and the points of overlap are also considered. Understanding of the archaeological record within the Thames basin is approached by the use of ethnographic analogy and archaeological comparison within a number of world regions. The ethnographic material is drawn from communities based on rivers in Australia, the Amazon basin and a number of locations in North America. The archaeological information is primarily from Europe (Britain and Ireland, the North European Plain and the Central European Uplands). Two other areas are briefly examined, namely Old World rivers (the Euphrates, the Jordan and the Nile) and a number of New World sites in North America. Attributes of the themes are drawn out from both the ethnographical and archaeological material. The Thames material is outlined and conclusions drawn in light of these attributes.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: People and Water: A study of the relationship between humans and rivers in the Mesolithic and Neolithic with particular reference to that within the Thames Basin
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1460514
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