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The stone-built buildings of Orkney provide us with a rich dataset from which to study the architecture of the Early Neolithic house. However at the same time, dealing with them as if they all represent the same manifestation of ‘domestic... more
The stone-built buildings of Orkney provide us with a rich dataset from which to study the architecture of the Early Neolithic house. However at the same time, dealing with them as if they all represent the same manifestation of ‘domestic life’ throughout the islands is flawed.

Evidence is emerging for a securely-dated Early Neolithic phase of occupation in Orkney, of considerable variety, in settlement morphology, house form and, of particular importance, in
construction material. The approach developed here is that this architecture needs to be viewed holistically, as part of the range of occupation practices carried out in the 4th millennium BC.

The central tenet of this dissertation is that this variability has key methodological and interpretative implications.

Methodologically, ephemeral timber remains pose a number of questions with regard to the prospection of all elements of structural evidence from the Early Neolithic. This study
demonstrates the difficulties of consistently detecting timber structural evidence from both fieldwalked data and geophysical survey, using a new survey at a possible timber settlement at
Deepdale as a starting point. Interpretatively, the challenge is to integrate this diverse dataset, centered on an understanding
of the complex material engagements apparent in the social investment of the house. This needs to, ultimately, be considered in a wider context in order to provide a fuller understanding
of Orcadian Early Neolithic domestic life.

The key conclusion is that in order to provide a fuller account of the Early Neolithic house in Orkney, we need to diversify both our methodological and interpretative approach.
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Round-up for 2009 to 2011. Co-authored with Charlotte Orchard.
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A short report on a programme of magnetometry undertaken on Windmill Hill, Ilmington.
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Report on development phase of a community geophysics project.
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