Settlements and economy in Britain during the first millennium B.C.
•....Celtic Britain retained an archaism of tradition in that fundamental element of human culture, the home, (Piggott, 1965, 236). In writing those words, Piggott was referring to one specific artefact, the house-type, but it is one of the aims of this study to show that those same words are true for other aspects of the Celtic home, not only those immediately surrounding the hearth but also those concerned with the economy of arable and pasture. For this reason, it is considered necessary to examine in Part I that archaic background in order to demonstrate the degree of continuity of tradition between the second and first millennia B.C. in Britain, particularly since such an examination is at present lacking in the published archaeological record. Statements are frequently made in the literature on the British Early Iron Age about typical forms of settlement; it is hoped that, by detailed examination and classification of settlements of recognisable form, the present study will provide a firm basis from which general and specific conclusions may safely be drawn. The material evidence used has been derived primarily from excavation reports published before June 1969, since these can provide the only source of detailed information; field surveys, particularly those produced by the work of the several Royal Commissions on Ancient and Historical Monuments, have also been used to a considerable extent. Personal fieldwork has been carried out in many areas, with the purpose of answering specific problems. In Part II each type of settlement will be examined separately, followed in Part III by sections on individual features such as pits and on related earthworks such as field systems and linear ditches. Enclosed settlement types will be accompanied by an examination of superficially similar sites at which occupation has yet to be proved or disproved by excavation. The geographical area involved comprises Britain as far north as a line drawn between the Forth and Clyde estuaries; it is believed that, north of this approximate boundary, settlement in general takes on a rather different character and cannot helpfully be related to settlement forms in the rest of the country. [The geographical area studied has also, and for the same reason, been confined in S.W. England io the region east of a line drawn approximately between Weston-super-Mare and Lyme Regis.] Settlements are treated as unified classes of site within the entire area, ignoring the local cultural regions indicated primarily by pottery studies. It is hoped that this treatment will be justified by the evidence from the settlements themselves, for the various types do seem to indicate some degree of basic unity of tradition. The present writer believes that local variations in pottery or metal-working traditions should not be permitted to obscure the underlying unity of habit and change in the domestic life of the prehistoric communities of Britain. A catalogue will be provided at the end to accompany the discussion of each type of site and each type of internal feature, and, as far as possible, an attempt has been made to make these catalogues comprehensive. It will be appreciated that the success of this attempt has been limited by the amount of information available from published excavations and field-surveys. An exception has been made in the case of earthwork enclosures in which occupation is uncertain, partly because of the vast number of such enclosures and partly because they are of little value to a discussion of settlement forms. Similarly, no attempt has been made to list those occupation sites about which very little is known; many such sites have been found in the course of quarrying and road-making and are consequently very partially recorded. Above all, it must be emphasized that this study is not concerned with hill-forts, either earthen or stone-built, because these represent a specialised defensive form of settlement. The present study is devoted to settlements and homesteads which are essentially non-defensive in the military sense of the term. A C.B.A. conference held in 1965 was concerned with rural settlement in Roman Britain (Thomas, ed., 1966) but, apart from a certain amount of information about the Iron Age background presented then, nothing comparable has been achieved for the pre-Roman period.