Book review: Julian Thomas The Birth of Neolithic Britain: An Interpretive Account.
The Birth of Neolithic Britain is the fourth major work by the acclaimed Julian Thomas, one of the leading proponents of interpretive archaeology or archaeology informed by philosophy, anthropology and discussions in the arts and social sciences in general. After exposing the assumption and prejudices of archaeologists’ narratives of the Neolithic and presenting innovative explanations of the shift from hunting-gathering to farming as well as other issues in Rethinking the Neolithic (1991; reworked and updated version Understanding the Neolithic in 1999), questioning Western conceptualisations of time, identity, materiality with the help of archaeological case studies in the ‘Heideggerian’ Time, Culture and Identity (1996) and further contextualised archaeology as part of a (post)modern worldview in Archaeology and Modernity (2004), this book seems to be a relevant continuation of Thomas’s work. This is probably the first significant work on Neolithisation since Graeme Barker’s global overview The Agricultural Revolution in Prehistory (2006, Oxford: Oxford University Press), this time with a focus on Europe and particularly Britain.
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