Fiskerton: An Iron Age Timber Causeway with Iron Age and Roman Votive Offerings

Overview

Fiskerton, located in the Witham valley of Lincoln, is one of only a handful of excavated sites in Europe to reveal the Iron Age practice of ritually destroying special and elite objects by placing them in a body of water. This volume reports on the 1981 excavations on the bank of the River Witham and provides fascinating insights into this important aspect of Iron Age religion and culture. A remarkable group of Iron Age and Roman artefacts was found in association with a wooden causeway in use from at least 457 ...
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Overview

Fiskerton, located in the Witham valley of Lincoln, is one of only a handful of excavated sites in Europe to reveal the Iron Age practice of ritually destroying special and elite objects by placing them in a body of water. This volume reports on the 1981 excavations on the bank of the River Witham and provides fascinating insights into this important aspect of Iron Age religion and culture. A remarkable group of Iron Age and Roman artefacts was found in association with a wooden causeway in use from at least 457 to 321BC, including bronze and iron weapons and tools (some decorated with ornamental motifs), bone tools, stone tools, jewellery and pottery. The Iron Age finds are earlier than those from similar watery sites such as La Tene in Switzerland and Llyn Cerrig Bach in Wales, and the precise dating of the Fiskerton causeway by dendrochronology establishes it as one of the earliest known structures in Europe belonging to the La Tene culture. This report provides detailed descriptions of the Iron Age, Roman and Medieval artefacts and the human and animal bones found at the site. The authors compare the Fiskerton evidence with other British, Irish and European examples of ritual or votive deposition in water; they discuss the construction and the appearance of the causeway; and they examine the significance of Fiskerton as a religious site, especially in terms of its topographical context, as a river crossing and as a boundary or liminal area between mainland Britain and the former island of Lindsey.
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Editorial Reviews

British Archaeology - Mike Pitts
a remarkable book in several ways...The importance of new work underway in the valley is clear.'
Current Archaeology (194)
a fine piece of fieldwork...Here is a site that would handsomely reward further large-scale excavation.'
Antiquity - Fokke Gerritsen
the wealth of information that the Fiskerton volume presents,...make[s] it a worthy occupant of the bookshelf on votive depositional sites.'
Lincolnshire History and Archaeology - Bryony Coles
The book is full of interest, at times provocative and exciting,'
Current Archaeology
a fine piece of fieldwork...Here is a site that would handsomely reward further large-scale excavation.'
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781842170649
  • Publisher: Oxbow Books
  • Publication date: 12/1/2002
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 8.48 (w) x 11.98 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Summary - Resume - Zusammenfassung
List of Contributors
Acknowledgements
1 The Timber Causeway 1
Topography and setting 1
The excavation 2
2 The Environmental Setting of the Causeway 17
The soils 17
The plant remains: macrofossils and pollen 19
The insects 22
Environmental overview 23
3 The Wooden Remains 25
Tree-ring analysis of the causeway timbers 25
The wood 38
4 The Iron Age Weaponry and Tools 49
The Iron Age military items 49
The iron tools 63
The condition and metallographic examination of the ironwork 74
Detailed scientific examination of axe-head 413 85
5 The Other Iron Age Artefacts 87
The Iron Age pottery 87
The bone and antler artefacts: their manufacture and use 92
The amber and jet artefacts 111
The worked stone 113
6 The Roman and Medieval Artefacts 115
The Roman pottery 115
The Roman tile 115
The Roman metalwork 118
The Roman whetstones 120
The post-Roman pottery and tile 124
The post-Roman metalwork 124
7 The Human and Animal Bones 125
The human bones 125
The radiocarbon dates for the human bones 127
The mammalian and bird bones 127
The fish bones 131
8 The Fiskerton Causeway 133
The construction and appearance of the causeway 133
Lunar eclipses, Saros cycles and the construction of the causeway 136
Social implications of lunar eclipse measurement for calendrical knowledge and archaeoastronomy 144
9 Fiskerton in Its Local and Regional Setting 149
Finds from the River Witham 149
The Palaeolithic to Earlier Neolithic landscape 150
The Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age landscape 153
The Middle and Late Bronze Age landscape 153
Other possible causeways in the Fiskerton area 159
Activity contemporary with the Fiskerton causeway 160
Activity post-dating the Fiskerton causeway 167
10 The Fiskerton Votive Assemblage and Its Context 171
Votive deposition in the Witham 171
The Fiskerton artefact assemblage 173
Celtic art and its social and depositional context 178
11 The British and European Context of Fiskerton 179
Continental comparisons 179
British and Irish comparisons 184
12 Regional Social Dynamics in Later Prehistoric Eastern England 189
Deposition and settlement 189
Votive deposits as boundary phenomena 190
App Other Archaeological Excavations at Fiskerton 195
Perrins Cottages, High Street 195
Nelson Road 196
References 199
Colour Plates 211
Index 223
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