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Later European Prehistory Group

Chris Tilley, (University College London) - Conceptions of wealth and value in the Bronze Age of Britain and Europe
When Nov 14, 2016
from 05:30 PM to 06:30 PM
Where McDonald Institute Seminar Room, Courtyard Building, Downing Street
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Attendees All welcome
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Abstract:

This talk examines conceptions of wealth and value in the British and European Bronze Age. For the past 40 years one model, the prestige goods exchange perspective, has come to dominate discussions providing us with a vision of chiefly elites being involved in long-distance exchange networks from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia controlling supplies of raw materials, metals and exotic materials as a means to acquire and maintain status differentiation. In considerations of the British Bronze Age this has been consistently linked with an even older 80 year old vision of a Wessex elite with rich graves. Recently the equation of rich graves with wealthy individuals has been questioned and other interpretations proposed based on ideas of ‘relational identities’. Building on this position the paper draws on evidence from a ‘marginal’ area of south-west England to challenge a normative ‘gold standard’ of wealth to suggests that what constitutes wealth and what was considered to be valuable has to be re-thought in terms of how different societies valued and used local materials as expressions of localised identities."

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