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Resources and population in the British Neolithic

  • A. W. R. Whittle

Various ways of dividing up the chronological and cultural content of the Neolithic of the British Isles have been proposed. Thus Piggott assigned the Windmill Hill culture to Early and Middle phases, and the Peterborough and other cultures to a Late phase (1954); Clarke proposed similar Early, Middle and Late phases, with the addition of a Final phase (1970,275); Case divided the Irish Neolithic into a beginning, a middle and an end (1969a) (a scheme recently further subdivided by ApSimon (1976)), his stages marked by various cultural innovations and developments. Though based on such cultural changes, these schemes—necessary as they are—all tend to create the impression of steady and consistent human activity, though manifesting itself in different ways at different times, over the by now vast span of the British Neolithic. Nor has this impression been altered greatly by the large number of radiocarbon dates-over 150—available for cultural activity over the period from at the latest 3500 bc down to 2000 bc or soon after.

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