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Prehistoric Agriculture in Britain

  • E. Cecil Curwen
Extract

The importance of the part played by agriculture in the economic history of our country is sometimes apt to be forgotten, for its place has, during the past hundred years, been largely taken by manufacture. Down to the beginning of the nineteenth century the bulk of the population still made a living by tilling the fields, just as their fathers had done from time immemorial. It becomes, therefore, a matter of great interest to trace the beginnings and growth of agriculture in our country before the dawn of history.

Agriculture may be taken in its broadest sense to signify the artificial growth of plants for human use, as opposed to the gathering of wild products, but the term may also be narrowed down to cover only the cultivation of farinaceous seeds which we call cereals. It is chiefly in the latter sense that the subject will be discussed here, but it must be remembered that the nature of the evidence does not altogether allow of such a distinction.

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References
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CEREALS

Candolle, De Origin of Cultivated Plants.
Stapf, O. History of the Wheats, Suppl. to Journ. of Board of Agriculture (June 1910), xvii.

SICKLES

Spurrel, F.C.J.Notes on Early Sickles,” Arch. Journ. xlix, 5368.
Munro, RobertFlint Saws versus Sickles,” Ibid. 16475.

QUERNS

Bennett, R. and Elton, J. History of Corn-milling, vol. i. (London and Liverpool, 1898).

PLOUGHS

Tylor, E.B. F.R.S. “Origin of the Plough and Wheel-carriage.” Journ. Anthrop. Inst. 10, 749.
Rau, C.H. Geschichte des Pfluges (1845).
Behlen, H. Der Pflug und das Pflügen bei den Römern und in Mitteleuropa in vorge-schichtliche Zeit (Dillenburg, 1904).

PREHISTORIC CELTIC FIELD-SYSTEMS

Blaker, Reginald Sussex Arch. Coll. 45, 198203.
Toms, H.S.The Problem of Ancient Cultivations,” The Antiquary, Nov. 1911, 41117.
Crawford, O.G.S. Geograph. Journ. 61, 34266.
Crawford, O.G.S. Air–Survey and Archaeology. (Ordnance Survey professional papers, N.s. no. 7, 1924).
Curwen, Eliot and Curwen, E. CecilSussex Lynchets and their associated Field-ways,” Sussex Arch. Coll. 64, 165.

ENGLISH AND OTHER FIELD-SYSTEMS

Curtler, W.H.R. A Short History of English Agriculture (Oxford, 1909).
Gray, H.L. English Field Systems, Harvard Historical Studies, vol. 22. (Cambridge, Mass., 1915, Milford).
Hanssen, G. Agrarhistorische Abhandlungen (Leipzig, 1880–4, 2 v.).
Maitland, F.W. Domesday Book and Beyond (Camb. 1921), “Measures and Fields,” 36299.
Meitzen, A. Siedelung und Agrarwesen der Westgermanen und Oestgermanen, der Kelten, Römer, Finnen und Slawen (Berlin, 1895, 3 v. and atlas).
Nasse, E. On the Agricultural Community of the Middle Ages, and Enclosures of the Sixteenth Century in England, trans. by Ouvry, H.A. (London, 1872.
Pell, O.C.A New View of the Geldable Unit of Assessment of Domesday,” Domesday Studies, part I. (1888), 227385.
Schlüter, O. Siedlungskunde des Thaies der Unstrul von der sachlenbürger Pforte bis zur Mündung (Halle, 1896).
Seebohm, F. The English Village Community (London, 1883); Customary Acres and their Historical Importance (London, 1914).
Slater, G. The English Peasantry and the Enclosure of the Common Fields (London, 1907).
Vinogradoff, P. Villeinage in England (Oxford, 1892). English Society in the Eleventh Century (Oxford, 1908).
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Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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