The Neolithic is that pivotal point in prehistory where community changes, from dependence on hunting, fishing, gathering strategies based on seasonal availability to seasonal harvesting, animal husbandry, food procurement, and storage. Until recently, archaeologists took a broad-brush approach, sometimes ignoring local and regional nuances, so is refreshing that Hey, Frodsham, and their team look at the Neolithic in terms of a northern tradition.
Organised into 15 chapters, the book takes the reader on a chronological journey from the Mesolithic–Neolithic transition to the introduction of Bell Beakers in the early Bronze Age. The editors have skilfully integrated the academic, commercial, and community sectors to provide a multi-interpretive approach to this dynamic period, creating a number of Neolithics that embrace many aspects of community life. The book clearly promotes the idea that the Neolithic of northern England possessed a different dynamism to its contemporaries elsewhere. This book is a much-needed addition to the Neolithic bookshelf and will be a useful reference for ongoing and future research.
New Light on the Neolithic of Northern England, Gill Hey and Paul Frodsham (eds), Oxbow Books, £38, ISBN 978-1789252668.
Review by George Nash.