A materiality approach is developed in this thesis in order to understand social-material
relationships during the south-east Scottish Iron Age. The focus is on everyday objects,
traditionally lesser studied in terms of cosmological value, made of bone and antler,
stone, clay/pottery and metal (copper alloy and iron) from the Broxmouth Hillfort
assemblage and other excavated Iron Age sites in East Lothian. This study sets out to
move away from typology to examine the connections between these materials through
their sourcing, affordances (signative and pragmatic), design, manufacture, use and
deposition. In addition to the archaeological evidence, a range of analytical methods are
employed; including laser scanning confocal microscopy, raman spectroscopy, and
residue and isotopic analysis.
It becomes evident that the materials studied, despite their predominantly local
availability, were invested with meaning in appropriation, making, and were
deliberately curated and maintained in use, assembling rich personal biographies.
Identities were tied up with making, using and depositing of materials in turn
embodying beliefs of fertility, renewal and productivity which were central to Iron Age
cosmology, continuing into the Roman Iron Age. These results contribute to our
understanding of the construction and practice of society in the Iron Age of Britain, with
implications for how we may design our own 21st Century material worlds. It is
proposed that social relations in the Iron Age of south-east Scotland were heterarchical.
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