Portable Antiquities, Palimpsests, and Persistent Places
A multi-period approach to Portable Antiquities Scheme data in Lincolnshire
Every year thousands of archaeological objects and artefact scatters are discovered by the public, most of them by metal-detector users, but also by people whilst out walking, gardening, or going about their daily work. Once recorded, these finds hold enormous potential in helping us understand the past. In England and Wales these finds are reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), and since 2003 over one million finds have been recorded. This book explores the significance of PAS data for Lincolnshire, in particular how these finds enhance the 'known' archaeological record, and how they come together to form multi-period artefact scatters, defined here for the first time as 'plough-zone palimpsests'. A bespoke methodology is developed that allows PAS data to be analysed at different scales of time and place. This brings into focus different sources of bias and different interpretative possibilities. A series of case studies then explore these palimpsests on varying scales of time and place. These demonstrate how portable antiquities are important biographical components of 'temporally-sticky' or ‘persistent places’, and have the potential to reveal structuring within the landscape over long-periods of time. Combined with other evidence engrained within the landscape, PAS data help to explain how the past influenced the subsequent use of places, and how the aftershocks of human activity resonate in the landscape today.
KeywordsBritish archaeology; persistent places; palimpsest; prehistory; find scatters
Publication date and placeLeiden, 2016
ImprintSidestone Press Dissertations