Churches as Pre-Historic Ritual Monuments: A Review and Phenomenological Perspective from Somerset
Assemblage, Issue 6 (2001)
It is probably fair to say that prehistorians’ own perception of the task of reconstructing the lifeways and thought-worlds of their chosen societies is that it is in some sense ennobled and elevated to a higher intellectual plane by their total reliance on aspects of material culture. This has in effect forced them to establish theoretical models of societal and cultural development in a way that, they might argue, their medieval colleagues would simply not recognise. Documents, then, are for wimps, and it is no coincidence that the overwhelming body of archaeological theory currently taught in our universities was developed specifically by pre-historians and anthropologists for the analysis of those pre-industrial societies that were either entirely non-literate, or which did not usually commit narrative accounts of collective or individual experience to formal writing systems.