1. Introduction

In this article I investigate possible connections between the division of space and the activities that take place within the parts of this divided space, on a meso-spatial level. For the purposes of this article, the term 'activities' refers to the use of space by people for purposes relating to their lives, such as production, storage, sleeping, eating and drinking. The materials studied are secondary data relating to the Bronze Age site at Black Patch in East Sussex. The article has a focus on the status of activities and of the spaces in which they took place. It is important to clarify here that status used in this context does not necessarily mean social class, but refers to people's attitudes towards everyday and less frequently occurring activities, as well as to some extent the relationship between individual and community. A related concept is that of a distinction between public and private space, which could be said to be manifest at any site where there is evidence for the presence of enclosed spaces. A further point that requires clarification is that by discussing the status of an activity I am not suggesting that it was intrinsically better or worse than another activity, just that they were viewed differently.

Some indication of the activities that took place across the site can come from study of the site report. I had hoped to be able to make use of the site archive, which was stored at the Institute of Archaeology in London at the time Drewett published his report (1982, 325). However, the archive is no longer at the Institute of Archaeology and I have been unable to discover its present location. Consequently, it has been necessary to use only the published report. Unfortunately, this has meant that much of the information pertaining to animal bone, marine molluscs, charcoal, burnt clay, stone artefacts and flint has not been available for study, and I cannot use anything from contexts that are not numbered on the plans in the report with any certainty. Information about post-holes is also unavailable, and as such they have been omitted from the study as the plans in the report give insufficient detail.

The approach to interpretation of the site taken in this article differs from that of the interpretation published in the excavation report, which focused on the possible functions of the huts, and on notions of ownership of these structures (Drewett 1982, 340, 364); instead, this article focuses on how the activities that took place at different locations on this hut platform related to one another and to the hut platform as a whole. Drewett's interpretation of the huts on Hut Platform 4 as having almost all been contemporary was called into question by Russell (1996). Despite this, the 'extended family' interpretation originally proposed by Drewett (1982, 342) is reproduced, without question, in the revised edition of Bronze Age Britain (Parker Pearson 2005, 99; first edition published 1993). It was decided that undertaking syntactical analysis of the spaces created by the various possible configurations of huts and fences – including those suggested by Russell (1996, 37) – could produce information that allows us to observe which of the arrangements fit most closely with the evidence of the artefacts and ecofacts. Thus, I investigated numerous arrangements of structures. The time-scale of the project meant that this could not be an exhaustive study, but the article does cover the configurations that have already been suggested (Drewett 1982, plate 30; Russell 1996, 37) as well as some other possibilities.


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