Even the past experienced building and development booms and busts

Even the past experienced building and development booms and busts

The problem with stereotypes is that a) they are often wrong, and b) they prevent appreciating that what we thought was true is, in fact, not. For example, that economic expansion leads to building booms seems to have been as true 6,000 years ago as it is now. Researchers have found that when agriculture came to Britain, it led to a surge of construction as impressive and rapid as the one that followed the industrial revolution.

A team of researchers has used radiocarbon dating [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiocarbon_dating], the soil stratigraphy [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratigraphy] of artifacts to ascertain what is older and what younger, and Bayesian analysis [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayesian_analysis] to provide narrower ranges for events than has been possible previously. This strategy was applied to hundreds of sites about Britain. The result is a radical reintrepretation of Neolithic past [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neolithic].

The results of their assessment shows that agriculture seems to have arrived fully formed in what is now Kent, in the southeast, around 4050 B.C.E. The new culture spread slowly at first, taking 200 years to reach modern-day Cheltenham, in the west, but over the following five decades it penetrated as far north as Aberdeen in Scotland. Soon afterwards, causewayed enclosures (circular arrangements of banks and ditches hundreds of metres across; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causewayed_enclosure) began springing up all over the country. Until now, archaeologists had assumed that these were built over the course of centuries. The research suggests they were the product of two booms, each just a few decades long (the Neolithic seems to have seen its share of busts, also).

The study is being published in a new book, which can be found at http://www.amazon.com/dp/1842174258/ref=as_li_tf_til?tag=medievalistsn-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=1842174258&adid=1ZKE822B3TZA5860PBY8.

A summary of the study can be found at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1394751/Prehistoric-building-frenzy-revealed-vast-number-enclosures-precision-dated-new-technique.html.