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  • Name: Emily Banfield 

PhD: Archaeology

Thesis Title: Animals and ontologies: addressing the role and meaning of faunal remains in the Neolithic long barrows of Wiltshire


Thesis Description:

Neolithic long barrows are amongst the earliest monumental structures to survive in the British archaeological record and have been the subject of archaeological and antiquarian interest for over 200 years.  Although concentrated in the Wessex region, examples can be found across Britain and Wales. Recent re-examination of Neolithic long barrow deposits in the Wessex region have begun to transform understanding of these structures and the period as a whole, although with one exception, the focus has remained anthropocentric. Animal bones from long barrows are still widely interpreted as either offerings, or resultant of consumption associated with the interment of human remains. The unquestioned attribution of animals to a secondary position is surprising considering the impact of domestication upon human/animal relationships. This study seeks to understand the roles and meaning of animals in long barrow deposits through analysis of the faunal composition of assemblages and the treatment of remains.  Comparisons will be made with assemblages from different site types from the same period.  Consideration will be accorded to the nature of deposits, and the biographies and behaviours of the animals included.  Ethnographic material will inform interpretation, enabling the development of ideas to explain the character of human/animal relationships being expressed and the role of the animal in the creation of human identity.


Supervisors and Institution(s): 

Dr Richard Thomas, University of Leicester

Dr Oliver Harris, University of Leicester 


Publications (please include full details with page nos. or web links):

  • Review: 'Early Farmers. The View from Archaeology and Science' by Alastair Whittle and Penny Bickle. The Antiquaries Journal 95 pp. 372-373
  • Paper: Sticky notes: some thoughts on the use of clay in the Neolithic deposits within the Avebury megalithic complex. Norwegian Archaeological Review 
  • Entry in web exhibition: 30 Objects/30 Years: Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites Celebrate 30 Years as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 30 Objects 
  • Review: 'Elements of Architecture. Assembling Archaeology, Atmosphere and the Performance of Building Spaces' Edited by Mikkel Bille and Tim Flohr Sørensen. The Archaeological Review from Cambridge 32.1


Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:

  • Invited to join the Avebury and Stonehenge Research Group
  • 18.04.2015: Paper delivered at the Archaeology in Wiltshire conference
  • 17.07.2015: Paper delivered at Non-human Animals, Posthuman Futures symposium, University of Warwick
  • 15.12.2015: Paper delivered at the Theoretical Archaeology Group conference, University of Bradford
  • 19.11.2016: Animal Farm? Domestication, dominance and disciplinary practice delivered at the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Student Symposium 2016
  • 19.12.2016: Lost soils: contextistential angst, artefactual dissonance and the archaeology of the resolutely mundane delivered at the Theoretical Archaeology Group conference, University of Southampton
  • 20.12.2016: Matters of difference: nobody puts debris in a corner! delivered at the Theoretical Archaeology Group conference, University of Southampton
  • 29.04.2017: Presented poster at Association of Environmental Archaeologists spring conference, University of Leicetser

Other Research Interests:

  • The Avebury landscape
  • Mundane materials
  • Rock art of Cumbria and Yorkshire


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