Warning Cookies are used on this site to provide the best user experience. If you continue, we assume that you agree to receive cookies from this site. OK

Iron Age Societies in the Severn-Cotswolds

Developing narratives of social and landscape change

Tom Moore
Publication Year:
302pp. Includes 146 figures, maps, plans, drawings and photographs. 4 data Appendices
ISBN 10:
BAR number:


The central theme of this study is an examination of the processes of change in Iron Age social organisation and identity on a regional scale using the Severn-Cotswolds area in England as a case study. It aims to provide a coherent narrative of the period in the region based on the wealth of current data now available, providing a basic storyboard against which future studies can react. This study focuses not just on the landscape, in which human actions were worked out, but recognises that neither the elements (the material culture, settlements, landscape) nor the processes (production, exchange, deposition and social reproduction) can be divorced from one another but need to be combined to form a coherent picture of community identities, organisation and relationships. This broad research theme is an attempt to move beyond a recent emphasis on 'deconstruction' in Iron Age studies and move towards the creation of basic narratives to explain the burgeoning archaeological record. The study discusses in detail the settlement and material culture of the region, and provides a synthesis of a range of new and unpublished data, identifying the diversity and complexity in this material. Through this a narrative emerges of wider, long-term processes of cultural change. In particular, this study asks how different areas of the region developed and the extent to which the archaeological evidence suggests different social organisations. Further, it questions what their impact was on the chronologies and processes of landscape and social change. The Severn-Cotswolds is ripe for regional synthesis for a variety of reasons.Principal in these is the relative neglect of the region in Iron Age studies in recent years with no synthetic studies since brief county surveys in the 1980s. This trend has continued with the Severn-Cotswolds examined as part of other regions, such as Wessex or the Welsh Marches rather than independently. The region is geographically diverse whilst focused around a significant geographical feature- the Severn Estuary. This makes its ideal to assess varying patterns of identity and social organisation and their relation to varying landscapes and/or social, cultural and economic influences. The region is also unusual in having a wealth of evidence for later Iron Age regional production and exchange systems in pottery, briquetage and glass beads to which can now be added quern stones, making it ideal to examine more closely the relationships between production, exchange, settlement patterns and social organisation.