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A Meeting in the Forest: Hunters and Farmers at the Coneybury ‘Anomaly’, Wiltshire

  • Kurt J. Gron (a1), Peter Rowley-Conwy (a1), Eva Fernandez-Dominguez (a1), Darren R. Gröcke (a2), Janet Montgomery (a1), Geoff M. Nowell (a2) and William P. Patterson (a3)...
Abstract

The Coneybury ‘Anomaly’ is an Early Neolithic pit located just south-east of Stonehenge, Wiltshire. Excavations recovered a faunal assemblage unique in its composition, consisting of both wild and domestic species, as well as large quantities of ceramics and stone tools, including a substantial proportion of blades/bladelets. We present a suite of new isotope analyses of the faunal material, together with ancient DNA sex determination, and reconsider the published faunal data to ask: What took place at Coneybury, and who was involved? We argue on the basis of multiple lines of evidence that Coneybury represents the material remains of a gathering organised by a regional community, with participants coming from different areas. One group of attendees provided deer instead of, or in addition to, cattle. We conclude that the most likely scenario is that this group comprised local hunter-gatherers who survived alongside local farmers.

Rendez-vous dans la forêt: Chasseurs et agriculteurs à l’‘Anomalie‘ de Coneybury, de Kurt J. Gron, Peter Rowley-Conwy, Eva Fernandez-Dominguez, Darren R. Gröcke, Janet Montgomery, Geoff M. Nowell, et William P. Patterson

L’Anomalie‘ de Coneybury est une fosse du néolithique ancien située juste au sud-est de Stonehenge. Des excavations révélèrent un assemblage faunique unique par sa composition, consistant à la fois en espèces sauvages et domestiques ainsi qu’en de grandes quantités de céramique et d’outils en pierre, y compris une proportion substantielle de lames et lamelles. Nous présentons une série de nouvelles analyses d’isotopes du matériel faunique ainsi qu’une détermination de sexe par ADN ancien et reconsidérons les données fauniques publiées pour poser la question: Que s’est-il passé à Coneybury et qui était impliqué? Nous argumentons, en nous appuyant sur de multiples sources d’indices que Coneybury représente les vestigesmatériels d’un rassemblement organisé par une communauté régionale avec des participants venant de divers endroits. Un goupe parmi les présents a fourni du cerf au lieu, ou en plus, de bétail. Nous en concluons que le scénario le plus plausible est que ce groupe comprenait des chasseurs-cueilleurs locaux qui survivaient aux côtés des agriculteurs locaux.

Ein Treffen im Wald: Jäger und Bauern an der Coneybury-„Anomalie”, von Kurt J. Gron, Peter Rowley-Conwy, Eva Fernandez-Dominguez, Darren R. Gröcke, Janet Montgomery, Geoff M. Nowell, und William P. Patterson

Die Coneybury-„Anomalie“ ist eine frühneolithische Grube, die unmittelbar außerhalb von Stonehenge gelegen ist. Ausgrabungen erbrachten ein Ensemble von Tierknochen, dessen Zusammensetzung einzigartig ist und sowohl aus Wild- wie aus Haustieren besteht, sowie eine große Anzahl an Keramik und Steinwerkzeugen, einschließlich einer substanziellen Anzahl an Klingen. In diesem Beitrag legen wir eine Reihe neuer Isotopenanalysen der Tierknochen gemeinsam mit Geschlechtsbestimmungen durch aDNA vor und bewerten die publizierten Daten zur Fauna neu, um die Frage zu stellen: Was geschah in Coneybury und wer war involviert? Auf Grundlage mehrerer Beweisführungslinien sprechen wir uns dafür aus, dass Coneybury die materiellen Hinterlassenschaften einer Zusammenkunft repräsentiert, die von der örtlichen Gemeinschaft organisiert wurde und Teilnehmer aus verschiedenen Regionen umfasste. Eine Gruppe unter den Anwesenden steuerte Hirsch statt oder zusätzlich zu Rind bei. Wir folgern, dass das wahrscheinlichste Szenario ist, dass diese Gruppe lokale Jäger-Sammler umfasste, die zeitgleich mit den lokalen Ackerbauern (über-) lebte.

Un encuentro en el bosque: cazadores y agricultores en la “anomalía” de Coneybury por Kurt J. Gron, Peter Rowley-Conwy, Eva Fernandez-Dominguez, Darren R. Gröcke, Janet Montgomery, Geoff M. Nowell, y William P. Patterson

La “anomalía” de Coneybury es un fosa adscrita al Neolítico inicial situada al sureste de Stonehenge. Las intervenciones arqueológicas han recuperado un conjunto faunístico único en su composición, formado tanto por especies domésticas como salvajes, al igual que por una gran cantidad de cerámicas e industria lítica, incluyendo una sustancial proporción de láminas y laminitas. En este artículo presentamos un conjunto de nuevos análisis isotópicos de fauna, junto con la determinación del sexo a partir de los análisis de ADN y reconsideramos los datos faunísticos publicados para plantear la cuestión: ¿qué ocurrió en Coneybury y quién estuvo involucrado? En base a las múltiples líneas de evidencia, argumentamos que Coneybury representa los restos materiales de una reunión organizada por una comunidad regional, con participantes procedentes de distintas áreas. Uno de los grupos participantes aportó venados en lugar de, o además de, ganado. Concluimos que el escenario más probable es que este grupo estuviese compuesto por cazadores-recolectores que sobrevivieron junto a las comunidades de agricultores locales.

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*Corresponding author Kurt Gron E-mail: k.j.gron@durham.ac.uk
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Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
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