The Neolithic of Britain and Ireland  book cover
1st Edition

The Neolithic of Britain and Ireland

ISBN 9781138857186
Published May 16, 2017 by Routledge
310 Pages

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Book Description

The Neolithic of Britain and Ireland provides a synthesis of this dynamic period of prehistory from the end of the Mesolithic through to the early Beaker period. Drawing on new excavations and the application of new scientific approaches to data from this period, this book considers both life and death in the Neolithic. It offers a clear and concise introduction to this period but with an emphasis on the wider and on-going research questions. It is an important text for students new to the study of this period of prehistory as well as acting as a reference for students and scholars already researching this area.

The book begins by considering the Mesolithic prelude, specifically the millennium prior to the start of the Neolithic in Britain and Ireland. It then goes on to consider what life was like for people at the time, alongside the monumental record and how people treated the dead. This is presented chronologically, with separate chapters on the early Neolithic, middle Neolithic, late Neolithic and early Beaker periods. Finally it considers future research priorities for the study of the Neolithic.

Table of Contents


List of figures

Chapter one: Introducing the Neolithic of Britain and Ireland

Chapter two: Island life: Britain and Ireland in the late Mesolithic

Chapter three: All change? The Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in Britain and Ireland and its north-west European background

Chapter four: A brave new world: life in the early Neolithic of Britain and Ireland

Chapter five: Of earth, bone, timber and stone: mortuary practice and monumentality in the early Neolithic of Britain and Ireland

Chapter six: Circles and lines: the middle Neolithic of Britain and Ireland

Chapter seven: Lines and landscapes of descent: life in the late Neolithic of Britain and Ireland

Chapter eight: Constructing theatres in the round: mortuary practice and monumentality in late Neolithic of Britain and Ireland

Chapter nine: Beakers, copper and bronze: life and death at the end of the Neolithic and into the early Bronze Age

Chapter ten: The Neolithic of Britain and Ireland: a summary and future directions


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Vicki Cummings is a Reader in Archaeology at the University of Central Lancashire, UK, where she has worked since 2004. She specialises in the Mesolithic and Neolithic of Britain and Ireland, with a particular focus on the transition period, monuments and landscape. She has a broader interest in hunting and gathering populations and stone tools. She has excavated a series of Neolithic monuments including Clyde cairns, Bargrennan monuments and dolmens.


Vicki Cummings here offers us a clearly structured narrative of the British and Irish Mesolithic and Neolithic that will be invaluable for the student, the general reader, or indeed the specialist seeking to keep up with the latest developments in this rapidly moving field. The well-known sites and monuments of Wessex and Orkney are amply described, but that is balanced by attention to other regions that have sometimes been neglected when considering British prehistory in its fullest geographical extent.

- Professor Chris Scarre, Durham University, UK


Cummings’ take on the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Chalcolithic presents a clear introduction to the non-specialist and expert reader alike, providing a concise summary and overview of key places and excavation results, whilst touching on the major questions that permeate the on-going and dynamic nature of research. Evidence is presented, arguments drawn and conclusions authoritatively structured. Cummings’ book will, I have no doubt, become an invaluable textbook for the expert, teacher, researcher, student and general interest reader.

-Miles Russell, Bournemouth University, UK