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Local Identities

Local Identities: Landscape and Community in the Late Prehistoric Meuse-Demer-Scheldt Region

Fokke Gerritsen
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Local Identities
    Book Description:

    Investigates how small groups - households and local communities - constitute and represent their social identity by ordering the landscape in which they dwell. The author develops a new theoretical and empirical perspective that deals with many of the practices that create collective senses of identity and belonging. These include house building and habitation, structured deposition, cremation and burial, arable farming, and ritual practices. An explicitly diachronic approach charts processes of cultural and social change which have previously gone largely unnoticed, providing a stimulating basis for a more dynamic history of the late prehistoric inhabitants of the Meuse-Demer-Scheldt region.Amsterdam Archaeological Studies is a series devoted to the study of past human societies from the prehistory up into modern times, primarily based on the study of archaeological remains. The series will include excavation reports of modern fieldwork; studies of categories of material culture; and synthesising studies with broader images of past societies, thereby contributing to the theoretical and methodological debates in archaeology.This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0514-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VIII)
    (pp. IX-X)
    Fokke Gerritsen
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    In this study I will draw on a range of archaeological materials to present a history of the communities inhabiting the Meuse-Demer-Scheldt (MDS) region between the beginning of the Late Bronze Age and the beginning of the Roman period. The aim is to elucidate some of the major social and cultural transformations that occurred during that period, covering roughly the first millennium BC. While a number of different histories could be written about the region and period, this one takes the form that it does because of the central theme that lies at its core: the reciprocal and dynamic relationships...

  5. 2 Archaeology in a sandy ‘essen’ landscape
    (pp. 17-30)

    The Meuse-Demer-Scheldt (MDS) region is a Pleistocene coversand plateau of approximately 250 kilometres (east-west) by 120 kilometres (north-south) (fig. 2.1). It covers the modern-day province of Noord-Brabant and the sandy parts of Dutch Limburg in the Netherlands, and the provinces of Antwerp and Limburg in Belgium. To the north of the sandy landscapes of the MDS region lies a broad zone with Holocene Meuse and Rhine sediments. The western edge of the study area is formed by the delta region of these rivers and the Scheldt river. To the south and east of the MDS region lie the loamy sand...

  6. 3 The house and its inhabitants
    (pp. 31-108)

    To say that a house is more than a physical shelter against the elements is simply pointing out the obvious. Houses are in many ways at the heart of social and cultural life, both in non-modern societies and in present-day, western society; they ‘constitute culturally significant space of the highest order’.¹ In contemporary northwestern Europe houses are embedded in a web of diverse notions including home, family, privacy, investment, status and the like. The significance of houses in other societies may well be based on wholly different ideas, but houses are never socially or symbolically neutral. Le Roy Ladurie notes...

  7. 4 Local communities and the organisation of the landscape
    (pp. 109-198)

    In many languages there are multiple terms to describe basic groups of rural dwellings, units in which most of the population of agricultural societies lives. Some terms have a meaning that stresses the geographical, others the social aspects (for example settlement versus community), although typically a combination of social, spatial or other contents is implied (hamlet, village, parish etc.). These are often primary organising features – although never the only one – of the larger bodies of societies. They are central elements in the construction of people’s identities, in the transmission of ideas and values, and in the organisation of...

  8. 5 Micro-regional and regional patterns of habitation, demography and land use
    (pp. 199-234)

    Having discussed households and local communities in the previous chapters, in this chapter I will address settlement patterns and subsistence strategies in relation to changing environmental conditions. A related issue for attention concerns long-term demographic trends. My objective is to link the settlement territories that remained rather abstract in the previous chapter to their landscape context, the physical landscape, that is, of soils and topography, and of vegetation, agricultural potential and limitations.

    Agricultural systems and environmental change are usually studied in specialised sub-disciplines of archaeology, using soils and botanical and faunal remains as their main sources of information. In contrast,...

  9. 6 Landscape, identity and community in the first millennium BC
    (pp. 235-254)

    In this chapter I wish to return to the main themes that have been explored in this study: landscape, the construction of local social identities, and the distribution and representation of claims to land. In several ways it is intended as a synthesis. In the preceding chapters, an analytical separation was made between several social levels and between spatial scales. The house and household were treated in relative isolation from the local community and settlement territory, and local communities were not viewed in relation to each other until the chapter on micro-regional habitation and land use patterns. It could be...

    (pp. 255-255)
    (pp. 255-286)
    (pp. 287-290)
    (pp. 291-298)
    (pp. 299-306)