1st Edition

Bronze Age Worlds A Social Prehistory of Britain and Ireland

By Robert Johnston Copyright 2021
    390 Pages 101 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    390 Pages 101 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Bronze Age Worlds brings a new way of thinking about kinship to the task of explaining the formation of social life in Bronze Age Britain and Ireland.

    Britain and Ireland’s diverse landscapes and societies experienced varied and profound transformations during the twenty-fifth to eighth centuries BC. People’s lives were shaped by migrations, changing beliefs about death, making and thinking with metals, and living in houses and field systems. This book offers accounts of how these processes emerged from social life, from events, places and landscapes, informed by a novel theory of kinship. Kinship was a rich and inventive sphere of culture that incorporated biological relations but was not determined by them. Kinship formed personhood and collective belonging, and associated people with nonhuman beings, things and places. The differences in kinship and kinwork across Ireland and Britain brought textures to social life and the formation of Bronze Age worlds.

    Bronze Age Worlds offers new perspectives to archaeologists and anthropologists interested in the place of kinship in Bronze Age societies and cultural development.

    1 Introduction: Dowris

    Part I Gifts

    2 A Patina of Journeys; 2500–1700 BC

    3 Dispersed Lives; 2000–700 BC

    Part II Dwellings

    4 Home Ground; 2500–1200 BC

    5 Living and Gathering; 1400–750 BC

    Part III Landmarks

    6 Enchanting Places; 2500–1500 BC

    7 Akin to Land; 2200–700 BC

    8 Conclusion: A Social Prehistory


    Robert Johnston is a Senior Lecturer in Landscape Archaeology at the University of Sheffield. He has published articles and edited books on aspects of landscape archaeology and the later prehistory of Britain and northwest Europe. He currently researches landscape transformations in western Britain.

    "With this book Robert Johnston has done a great service to researchers and students of the era, which he defines as spanning 2500 to 700bc... The book can expect  a long shelf life." - Mike Pitts, British Archaeology

    "The descriptive and evocative text in this book is outstanding and a real strength that sets it apart. ... This is elegant archaeological writing that takes us beyond site reports and summaries and clearly presents the author’s vision of the period and life in it. ... The book is readable, accessible and detailed. Not only should it be on the shelf of every scholar of the Bronze Age, but also of archaeologists more widely." - Rachel Crellin, Antiquity

    "The book represents the best of what European Bronze Age studies can be" - Steven Matthews, Prehistoric Society

    "The book contains an impressive amount of data, a wealth of carefully described examples, and compilation of research discourses unparalleled for this region. Johnston thus creates a complete picture of Bronze Age research in Britain and Ireland, which he eloquently ties together with his emphasis on the significance of kinship and journeys. ... The publication is thus highly recommended to anyone with an interest in learning more about the Bronze Age." Stefanie Schaefer-di MaidaNorwegian Archaeological Review

    "Johnston decisively confirms kinship as a relevant frame of reference for archaeo logical interpretation. For this reason, this book provides profound insights into the ways in which we can (and should) consider many aspects of the material record." Matthew Walsh, American Antiquity