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Penny Bickle wins Charles Coles Travelling Scholarship

1 March 2006

Aisne Valley landscape

My Ph.D. dissertation is focused on early Neolithic architecture from the Paris Basin. The thesis argues that while attempts to generalise and model this period have been useful in setting research agendas in many different regions across Europe, it is only through contextual study of the materials remains of these communities that the everyday experiences of the people involved in this transition can be revealed. Specifically, I am focusing on the architectural evidence from the Paris Basin. These longhouses have often been treated as merely evidence for settled, domestic and agricultural communities. My thesis questions this and argues that their context within the landscape, and the material culture deposited around them, illustrates that the people who constructed these longhouses were concerned with identity, tensions in community relations and, first and foremost, their daily routines. The Charles Coles Travelling Scholarship will aid this research by allowing me to visit collections from sites excavated in this region facilitating first hand experience of the material culture used and made around longhouses.

I have three objectives for the proposed visit: 1) to view collections from Neolithic sites excavated in the Paris Basin, 2) to meet with researchers and regional specialists to discuss my research and to get up to date information about sites currently under excavation, and 3) carry out further library based research in both Paris and Strasbourg to access materials not available within the UK.