Tears of the Sun: Bronze Age Amber Spacers from Britain and Europe
Verkooijen, Katharine Mary
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
Due to the very large number of illustrations and quotations in the catalogue, it has been agreed with Jill Evans (Open Access team) and Vicky Colton (Registry) that only an 'Agreed Text' copy would be submitted and a permanent 'forever' embargo placed on this thesis. Publication is intended within the near future and ORE will provide a link to that for enquirers when appropriate.
The amber spacers from Bronze Age Britain and Europe are one of the most well known artefact groups from this time period. Yet despite the frequency with which these artefacts are cited, the details of these finds both individually and within their original excavation contexts appear to be poorly understood. Recent new finds of ‘sets’ of spacers prompted this review and updating of the amber spacer corpus, which now extends to 375 individual spacers from 141 findspots. Once thought to constitute an artefact horizon which could provide a chronological bridge between the regions of Northwest Europe and Britain / the Central European Únĕtice/Tumulus Cultures and Late Helladic I and II Mycenaean Greece, new radiocarbon dating programs have extended their date range from (potentially) c. 2000 cal B.C. to c.1360 cal. B.C., although the regional chronologies remain essentially unresolved. To give a clear survey of how the spacers have been viewed historically, the catalogue entry for each findspot/spacer includes, as well as information about the findspots themselves, x-rays, photographs and drawings produced for this research, alongside all the previously published quotes and illustrations. Microscopic analyses provide evidence for some spacer-sets having been fragmented and deposited separately. Maps showing illustrations of the spacers where they were recovered allow comparison of regional similarities and differences. Loose colour plates show the x-rays of groups of spacers which have been correlated in past interpretations at 1:1 scale for easy comparison. Some earlier interpretations, including the Crescentic/Pendant regional division, the jet spacer/amber spacer/lunulae discrete distribution pattern and the close relationship of the Basic Pattern spacers, are challenged and found to no longer be sustainable. The craft and production aspects of spacer manufacture, particularly the procurement of suitable raw material, are addressed and a new narrative is presented, which is partly informed by the experimental replica research.
PhD in Archaeology