4.5 Body Orientation - Area patterns

The south west area

Evidence as shown in Table 107 is very scarce over 3500-8/700bc and 93-97% of sites have no indication of body orientation. The periods generally show a bias to the NW-NE and NE-SE, but the numbers are low (see Table 106) and not too much credence should be given to them. The quantity of evidence improves for 8/700-100bc and 100bc-AD43, and a preference for NW-NE body orientation is clear. It is interesting that the NE-SE and SE-SW orientations are equal second preference in these periods, the SW-NW (which is generally unpopular) retaining least favoured position throughout, save in 3500-2500bc where numbers are in any case low. Table 108 reflects the imbalance of evidence between 3500-8/700bc and 8/700bc-AD43.

The south area

This area provides more evidence and greater variation between periods (Table 110). NE-SE (14%) is preferred in 3500-2500bc to NW-NE, with low use of SE-SW and none of SW-NW. The next period puts NW-NE (15%) first, followed by the others in cardinal point order. As with the south west, there is scant evidence for orientation in 14/1300-8/700bc. The last two periods are quantitatively better represented, and the two more popular orientations of previous periods have equal and relatively high incidence (20% and 23% each in 8/700-100bc and 100bc-AD43 respectively). The two other less popular orientations are also reasonably well represented in those periods, with SW-NW at 14% rising to third place in 100bc-AD43.

The south east area

Table 113 shows a preference in this area for the NE-SE body orientation in 3500-2500bc, as did the south area, but the low numbers for the period (Table 112) provide no security for the other data. In 2500-14/1300bc with more sites providing evidence, the NW-NE (10%) is preferred as with the south west and south areas for that period, the other orientations following in descending order by cardinal point. Small numbers make it hard to give much weight to the evidence for the remaining periods, but there appears to be a continued favouring of the NW-NE quadrant throughout 14/1300bc-AD43, the SE-SW quadrant appearing to be next most strongly represented, especially in 8/700-100bc.

Considering the orientation distribution through the five periods, and between the three individual areas, a few points arise. In 3500-2500bc, proportionately more NE-SE instances occur than there are sites for the period in each area. In 2500-14/1300bc the south west area shows a lower proportion of recorded orientation incidences overall for the proportion of sites (a range of 29-50:67%) than the south area (58-71:57%) and the south east area (59-65:51%). There is uniformly low representation in the period 14/1300-8/700bc for all areas. In the two periods covering 8/700bc-AD43 there is a disproportionately higher incidence of noted body orientations, the south west area showing most, followed by the south area, and the south east area being most close to concordance with site incidence (Tables 108, 111 and 114).


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