Landscape in the Longue Durée

A History and Theory of Pebbles in a Pebbled Heathland Landscape

Professor Christopher Tilley, Professor of Anthropology & Archaeology, UCL


ISBN: 9781787350823

Publication: October 06, 2017

Pebbles are usually found only on the beach, in the liminal space between land and sea. But what happens when pebbles extend inland and create a ridge brushing against the sky?

Landscape in the Longue Durée is a 4,000 year history of pebbles. It is based on the results of a four-year archaeological research project of the east Devon Pebblebed heathlands, a fascinating and geologically unique landscape in the UK whose bedrock is composed entirely of water-rounded pebbles. Christopher Tilley uses this landscape to argue that pebbles are like no other kind of stone – they occupy an especial place both in the prehistoric past and in our contemporary culture. It is for this reason that we must re-think continuity and change in a radically new way by considering embodied relations between people and things over the long term.

Dividing the book into two parts, Tilley first explores the prehistoric landscape from the Mesolithic to the end of the Iron Age, and follows with an analysis of the same landscape from the eighteenth into the twenty-first century. The major findings of the four-year study are revealed through this chronological journey: from archaeological discoveries, such as the excavation of three early Bronze Age cairns, to the documentation of all 829 surviving pebble structures, and beyond, to the impact of the landscape on local economies and its importance today as a military training camp. The results of the study will inform many disciplines including archaeology, cultural and art history, anthropology, conservation, and landscape studies.

This book also includes a downloadable appendix. Download it here (.pdf).

Christopher Tilley is Professor of Anthropology at UCL. He has written and edited numerous books on archaeology, anthropology and material culture studies. His recent books include The Materiality of Stone (2004), Handbook of Material Culture (ed. 2006), Body and Image (2008), Interpreting Landscapes (2010) and An Anthropology of Landscape (2017).

Part I: The heathlands in prehistory

1 The Pebblebed landscape
2 George Carter and the archaeology of East Devon
3 Early Bronze Age pebble cairns
4 Analysis of the pebbles
5 The poetics of pebbles
6 Burnt mounds and pebble sculptures
7 The value of pebbles in an original affluent society
8 How landscape defines communities in prehistory: an environmental reconstruction of the prehistoric Pebblebeds landscape
9 Signing the land: Woodbury Castle and hilltop enclosures in the Iron Age of East Devon

Part II: The heathlands in modernity
10 Landscaping the heathlands
11 Early military occupation and use of the heathlands
12 The embodied poetics of a nineteenth-century heathlands landscape
13 A vernacular pebbled landscape
14 The heathlands in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries
15 Woven flame and pebble grid: an artist’s interaction with archaeology and the heathlands  
16 Conclusions: the longue durée and a theory of pebbles in a pebbled landscape

Format: Paperback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

500 Pages

ISBN: 9781787350823

Publication: October 06, 2017

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