Barrow Roads and Bronze Age Wayfaring

Author(s): Catherine Frieman; James Lewis

Year: 2017


The idea of the journey is central to many narratives of European Bronze Age social structure, economy, and cosmology, but the mechanics of journeying in the Bronze Age are rarely discussed. We know that objects and raw materials travelled great distances, we think that exotic things and ideas were sought after, and it appears that Bronze Age people maintained ties with kin and trading partners over very great distances. Much of this distance was inevitably traversed on water; and riverine distribution maps and scarce finds of boats and maritime assemblages have been scrutinised for details about the intensity and directionality of Bronze Age trade and transport. Overland routes are much less frequently encountered or discussed. Bronze Age monuments are often seen as existing outside settled landscapes, but hypothesised ‘barrow roads’ in some areas, imply that monuments were not so much placed outside settled places as they were located between them and along the way. This paper will use the idea of barrow roads to consider overland wayfaring in the Bronze Age, a period when some people may have traversed continents while others inevitably walked the same paths season after season, watching out for landmarks and following their sheep.

Cite this Record

Barrow Roads and Bronze Age Wayfaring. Catherine Frieman, James Lewis. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429660)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 13222