Julian Stewart Thomas

Julian Stewart Thomas
The University of Manchester · School of Arts, Languages and Cultures

PhD

About

124
Publications
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2,971
Citations

Publications

Publications (124)
Article
In their introduction to the discussion of Beiläufigkeit in archaeology, Pollock, Bernbeck, Appel, Loy and Schreiber build pleasingly on the theme of what Daniel Miller refers to as the ‘humility’ of physical things (2010, 50). By this he means that objects do not determine or prescribe the actions of human beings, but mutely establish the circumst...
Book
For many centuries, scholars and enthusiasts have been fascinated by Stonehenge, the world’s most famous stone circle. In 2003 a team of archaeologists commenced a long-term fieldwork project there for the first time in decades. The Stonehenge Riverside Project (2003-2009) aimed to investigate the purpose of this unique prehistoric monument by cons...
Article
This article takes issue with Parmenter, Johnson and Outram’s (2015) characterization of the faunal assemblages from causewayed enclosures as indistinguishable from those from domestic sites. Their study of bone processing at Etton is helpful and innovative, but they neglect other aspects of assemblage variability, while their account of Neolithic...
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Full-text available
Stonehenge is a site that continues to yield surprises. Excavation in 2009 added a new and unexpected feature: a smaller, dismantled stone circle on the banks of the River Avon, connected to Stonehenge itself by the Avenue. This new structure has been labelled ‘Bluestonehenge’ from the evidence that it once held a circle of bluestones that were lat...
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The assemblage of Neolithic cremated human remains from Stonehenge is the largest in Britain, and demonstrates that the monument was closely associated with the dead. New radiocarbon dates and Bayesian analysis indicate that cremated remains were deposited over a period of around five centuries from c. 3000–2500 BC. Earlier cremations were placed w...
Article
In this latest contribution to our ‘Archaeological Futures’ series, Julian Thomas reflects on the current state of Western archaeological theory and how it is probably going to develop over the next few years. Archaeological theory has not ossified in the period since the processual/post-processual exchanges. The closer integration of archaeologica...
Book
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Stonehenge is an iconic monument for people all around the world. Built around 5000 years ago, it stands for mystery and forgotten secrets waiting to be decoded. In this latest book in the Council for British Archaeology's ‘Archaeology for All' series, Professor Mike Parker Pearson presents an up-to-date interpretation of Stonehenge and its landsca...
Article
Hugo Anderson-Whymark, Duncan Garrow and Fraser Sturt are to be congratulated on an important find and a robust evaluation of its significance. As they point out, it was Roger Jacobi who first introduced the notion that Britain had been culturally isolated from the continent following the flooding of the English Channel; this was on the basis of st...
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This article focuses on the use of Google Earth as a tool to facilitate public engagement and dissemination of data. It examines a case study based around one of the largest archaeological investigations of the Stonehenge landscape, the Stonehenge Riverside Project. A bespoke layer for Google Earth was developed to communicate the discoveries of th...
Article
Was the British Neolithic a take-it-or-leave-it “package” which included building monuments and giving up fish? Julian Thomas thinks there was some room for creative packaging on the home front.
Article
This article constitutes a reply to a piece by Steven Mithen, in which an earlier contribution in this journal (Thomas 1988) is criticized as misrepresenting the character of Mesolithic archaeology. Mithen contends that the ‘processual’ archaeology which dominates that period can be humanized by introducing a consideration of emotion into the adapt...
Article
The inception of the Neolithic has always been one of the more vexed questions of British prehistory. As an issue, it has been obscured by a number of conceptual difficulties. Not least amongst these is that the transition from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic coincides with the point at which two different and opposed approaches to prehistory and i...
Article
The problem of dating cursus monuments has troubled British archaeology for some decades. A series of recent radiocarbon determinations from sites in lowland Scotland suggests that cursus monuments defined by posts and pits are generally earlier than the more familiar bank and ditch structures, and may have been constructed very early within the Br...
Book
The beginning of the Neolithic in Britain is a topic of perennial interest in archaeology, marking the end of a hunter-gatherer way of life with the introduction of domesticated plants and animals, pottery, polished stone tools, and a range of new kinds of monuments, including earthen long barrows and megalithic tombs. Every year, numerous new arti...
Article
This contribution responds to some issues raised by the papers in this issue by contrasting approaches to monumentality that emphasise scale and massiveness with those that concentrate on the experiential qualities of structures, and their capacity to engender memory. It is argued that there is no absolute distinction between large monuments and mo...
Article
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I congratulate Duncan Garrow on his very engaging history of the concept of structured deposition, although I find it slightly terrifying that this history now extends over nearly 30 years. I find much to agree with in his account, notably the distressing point that what was originally intended as a heuristic has sometimes become an end in itself:...
Article
A new sequence of Holocene landscape change has been discovered through an investigation of sediment sequences, palaeosols, pollen and molluscan data discovered during the Stonehenge Riverside Project. The early post-glacial vegetational succession in the Avon valley at Durrington Walls was apparently slow and partial, with intermittent woodland mo...
Article
Did our Neolithic ancestors really use earthen long barrows as cemeteries or did the structures have a living purpose, asks Julian Thomas
Book
The rise to prominence of pits within narratives of the British and Irish Neolithic is well-documented in recent literature. Pits have been cropping up in excavations for centuries, resulting in a very broad spectrum of interpretations but three main factors have led to the recent change in our perception and representation of these features: a bro...
Book
"内容説明 時間・文化・アイデンティティというテーマをハイデガーの思想と新石器時代の事例研究を通して追究、先史考古学を再構築する。 内容(「BOOK」データベースより) あらゆる形式の考古学に潜在していながら、これまで取り組まれることのなかった「時間」「文化」「アイデンティティ」というテーマについて、ハイデガーをはじめ多くの思想家の研究と考古学の事例研究を通して精緻に考察。表面的な「解釈」に留まらず、綿密な吟味と事例研究を通じて、先史考古学に新しい地平を拓く。 "
Article
This chapter argues that the critical changes that we can identify across the so-called 'Mesolithic-Neolithic transition' are not limited to the presence or absence of particular resources or artefact types, or even their contribution to the overall diet of a community. Instead, we should address the way that people inhabit a landscape, and the ext...
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The Grooved Ware complex in Later Neolithic Britain has proved a perplexing phenomenon for prehistorians. While originally identified by Stuart Piggott as one of a series of ‘Secondary Neolithic Cultures’, it was later recognized as a special-purpose assemblage, connected with inter-regional contacts between socially pre-eminent groups. Yet Grooved...
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The Greater Cursus – 3km long and just north of Stonehenge – had been dated by a red deer antler found in its ditch in the 1940s to 2890-2460 BC. New excavations by the authors found another antler in a much tighter context, and dating a millennium earlier. It appears that the colossal cursus had already marked out the landscape before Stonehenge w...
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Stonehenge continues to surprise us. In this new study of the twentieth-century excavations, together with the precise radiocarbon dating that is now possible, the authors propose that the site started life in the early third millennium cal BC as a cremation cemetery within a circle of upright bluestones. Britain's most famous monument may therefor...
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The Stonehenge Riverside Project is a collaborative enterprise directed by six academics from five UK universities, investigating the place of Stonehenge within its contemporary land- scape. In this contribution, a series of novel approaches being employed on the project are outlined, before the results of investigations at the Greater Stonehenge C...
Chapter
Over the past decade archaeology has embraced what Rabinow and Sullivan (1987) would describe as the ‘‘interpretive social sciences’’: hermeneutics and phenomenology. The early critiques of processual archaeology (e.g., Miller 1982) were principally inspired by structuralism, Marxism, and structuration theory, and sought to replace explanations tha...
Article
Full-text available
Stonehenge is the icon of British prehistory, and continues to inspire ingenious investigations and interpretations. A current campaign of research, being waged by probably the strongest archaeological team ever assembled, is focused not just on the monument, but on its landscape, its hinterland and the monuments within it. The campaign is still in...
Article
The primary and secondary uses of the West Kennet long barrow are reconsidered. In the first phase, dating perhaps to a late period of the Earlier Neolithic, the monument was used for a variety of burial rites, including bone circulation. The patterned deposits may have belonged to a small social group, and detailed knowledge of the tomb contents m...
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Full-text available
During the past four decades, genetic information has played an increasingly important part in the study of the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in Europe. However, there sometimes seems to be a degree of disjunction between the patterns revealed by genetic analysis and the increasingly complex social and economic processes that archaeology is start...
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This article reviews recent interpretations of Stonehenge in terms of contrasting uses of stone and timber in the mid-3rd millennium BC. It explores the relationship of this enigmatic monument with circles of wood at nearby Durrington Walls and Woodhenge, establishing how these various monuments might have been integrated into a single scheme in wh...
Article
The area around Stonehenge was used for monument building as early as 10,000 years ago but the site of Stonehenge was first constructed around 3000 B.C. The stones were put up probably in the 26th century B.C. Stonehenge was probably contemporary with a group of timber circles at Durrington Walls, 3 km upstream along the River Avon, and may have fo...
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In this paper I discuss the scarcity of representational art, and particularly of represen- tations of the human body, in Neolithic Britain, in contrast with the Neolithic of south-east Europe. My suggestion is that this contrast can be linked with differing notions of personal identity and bodi- ly integrity. In later Neolithic Britain, a complex...
Chapter
In this contribution I intend to consider some problems concerning material things and social relations, which arguably derive from the intellectual structure of our own discipline. Archaeologists, obviously, study the material traces that human beings leave behind them, and on that basis they attempt to understand past societies. Necessarily, this...
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In this contribut ion I add ress a se ries of r ecent pub lications which pr esent rev isionist accounts of the be ginning o f the Neo lithic in the Brit ish Isles . New evi dence sug gests tha t we need to reconside r issues of popula tion move ment, die t, mobili ty and re sidence p atterns. However, I conclud e that a re turn to a model of colon...
Book
his is the first book-length study to explore the relationship between archaeology and modern thought, showing how philosophical ideas that developed in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries still dominate our approach to the material remains of ancient societies. Addressing current debates from a new viewpoint, Archaeology and Modernity discusse...
Article
It is widely acknowledged that the practice of archaeology emerged in the modern period. However, this article makes the more radical claim that modernity represents the ground of the possibility of archaeology. Archaeology is deeply connected with modes of thought, forms of organization, and social practices that are distinctively modern. So ironi...
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Full-text available
Archaeology, defined as the study of material culture, extends from the first preserved human artefacts up to the present day, and in recent years the has become a particular focus of research. On one hand are the conservationists seeking to preserve significant materials and structures of recent decades in the face of redevelopment and abandonment...
Chapter
In this paper I intend to argue that throughout the modern era the dominant understanding of the body has been a humanist one, and that this remains influential within archaeology today. In particular, I will suggest that the issue of the human body is one that troubles and polarises the various approaches which are grouped under the term ‘post-pro...
Article
Generations of prehistorians have offered a series of interpretations of a change in mortuary practice which took place during the Neolithic period in Britain (4000-2500 BC). The decline of communal tombs and the introduction of single grave burial has been understood in terms of population movement, increasing social hierarchy, ideological change,...
Article
Topping Peter (ed.). Neolithic landscapes: Neolithic Studies Group seminar papers 2. (Oxbow monograph 86.) x+187 pages, 38 figures, 7 tables. 1997. Oxford: Oxbow; 1-900-188-41-4 paperback £20. - Volume 72 Issue 276 - Julian Thomas

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