Susanna Harris will be leading the discussion today on Stone clothing as evidence of social grouping in the Copper Age; the statue-menhir evidence.
The talk will commence at 1pm and will be in Room 410, not 412 as advertised.
The megalithic tradition of southern and western Europe in the third millennium BC encompasses the Late Neolithic / Copper Age practice of engraving stones to resemble people. As well as anatomical features such as eyes, arms and legs, these statue-menhirs (stelae) are engraved with stone clothing offers the opportunity to study garment types and their relationship to the fragments of cloth and cloth technology known from archaeological excavations. The location of the statue-menhirs as standing stones clustered in the landscape offers another unique opportunity: to study the spatial distribution of clothing. Given the importance of clothing in marking social grouping, this evidence suggests the scale of such grouping. The results of this study show two distinct patterns of clothing before 2400 BC, one at a supra-regional level, the other local. For Off The Record I will discuss another pattern emerging from this analysis; while the finer chronology of the statue-menhirs is on shaky ground, this research found a shift is clothing traditions roughly around 2400 BC, a horizon potentially related to patterns of change possibly associated with the Bell Beaker phenomenon.