Pigs and Power Centres in Late Neolithic Britain

Author(s): Jane Evans; Angela Lamb; Richard Madgwick

Year: 2015


This paper explores the interplay between food provision, landscape and power centres in late Neolithic Britain. This period is characterised by iconic megalithic ceremonial complexes, the most famous of which is Stonehenge. These centres represent a new scale of labour mobilisation, not previously seen in Britain. Evidence for feasting, invariably focussing on pork, is rife is in the environs of these monuments, yet settlement evidence is generally sparse. It is likely that these feasting events sustained inter- and intra-community relations, but the character and scale of connectivity remains unclear.

This paper presents results from a multi-isotope (δ13C, δ15N, δ18O, δ34S, 87Sr/86Sr) research project which investigates how these feasts were provisioned, from which areas of the landscape animals derived and the social networks that were sustained through these feasts. Four sites are investigated to assess whether they may have represented competing power bases, sustaining different networks or whether their function was more ceremonial, supporting the same networks but perhaps at different times in the calendrical cycle. Isotope analysis also addresses issues of how the landscape was exploited in raising large numbers of pigs for these vast feasting events.

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Cite this Record

Pigs and Power Centres in Late Neolithic Britain. Richard Madgwick, Angela Lamb, Jane Evans. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395082)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;