I am continuing my prehistoric rock art research south of the Border with a new project in the Langdale region of Cumbria, Northwest England in collaboration with Dr. Kate Sharpe (Durham University) and Dr. Aaron Watson (Monumental. Uk.com). This region is one of the most significant centres in Neolithic Britain as it is the source of a distinctive form of polished stone axe exchanged across the entirety of the British Isles. The rock art of the region has only recently been discovered and surveyed and the project aims to examine -through excavation and survey- the relationship between rock art, stone axe quarrying and the Neolithic of Cumbria.
The Neolithic monuments known as causewayed enclosures hold an abiding fascination; they are peculiar constructions with often very ephemeral features, but evidence for intense artefact depositions. I am collaborating with Joshua Pollard on a project to re-examine the causewayed enclosures of the Cotswolds and Thames Valley, a key region during the Neolithic with one of the earliest sequences of activity. While the archaeology of the gravels and alluvium of this region have been well researched, the archaeology of the limestones has seen less attention. Our aim is to examine the temporality of occupation of these sites - through fieldwalking and limited excavation. How are they used and how does this relate to the other architectural and monumental traditions of the region? How does their use relate to the early Neolithic occupation of the region?
My current research is a museum-based project on the decorated artefacts of Neolithic Britain and Ireland, with a particular focus on Northeast Scotland, southern England and Wales, the Isle of Man and eastern Ireland. The project examines a variety of enigmatic objects, including carved stone balls, carved chalk objects, and decorated antler and stone artefacts. These artefacts are especially intriguing as they have motifs very similar to those found in rock art. Collaborating with colleagues and students in the Archaeological Computing Research Group, Winchester School of Art and Central St. Martins (London), the project uses a variety of digital imaging techniques to look at the manufacture and re-use of these objects. The project aims to provide a clearer context for these objects, and to understand them alongside other Neolithic traditions of image making.
My other long-term research project aims to re-evaluate the philosophical character of the discipline of archaeology. In a number of publications I have argued for a shift away from a discipline focused on assessing the epistemological basis of archaeological evidence, to instead appraising the ontological character of the artefacts that archaeologists excavate, and of the archaeological record. This research has so far produced one single authored book (Prehistoric Materialities; OUP 2012) and an edited volume, edited with Ben Alberti and Joshua Pollard (Archaeology after Interpretation, Left Coast 2013). I am currently working on a new book with Andrew Cochrane, simply entitled ‘The Archaeology of Art' in which we examine the ontological dimensions of prehistoric art.
Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins
Affiliate research group(s)
Maritime Archaeology,Archaeological Computing,Southampton Ceramics Research Group,Archaeological Prospection Service of Southampton (APSS),Centre for Applied Archaeological Analyses
Promoting digital solutions to rock and cave art research
This 18 month project (2014-2015), funded by a BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant, aims to advance rock art research through the application of state-of-the-art imaging technologies.
Dr Andrew Meirion Jones
Faculty of Humanities, University of Southampton
Avenue Campus, Highfield
Telephone:(023) 8059 4533
Facsimile:(023) 8059 3032