The focus of the report on the BBC South Today news programme was the
age and rarity of the bronze dagger. It would seem that this rarity
provided the speculation that the person was someone of importance.
I have to say I often wonder if archaeologists infer too much when it
comes to burial goods. In the case of this burial we assume he was
important because he was buried with a rare weapon, but we haven't
found enough bronze age burials to know that such weapons were so rare
Perhaps he was buried with the dagger because he always wore it on his
belt and so it would be natural for him to be buried with it.
Perhaps the notion of inheritance did not exist at that time.
Perhaps bronze daggers were ten a penny and not as rare as we might
like to believe.
We really don't know enough about the bronze age to make statements
with such certainty.
If the person was a chief I would be intrigued to find the location of
his chiefdom as Racton isn't known for prehistoric remains. There is a
vaguely identified roman building, a shrunken medieval village and an
18th century folly.
Racton's only real fame is the home of Sir George Gunter, who I
mentioned only a few weeks ago, was instrumental in finding a ship for
Charles II's escape from England after the Battle of Worcester.
On 12/15/14, Dave Tooke <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> He was old. He was ill. He was buried with a valuable object. Those who
> buried him thought it worth putting that object with him.
> We cannot know, but it is a fair inference thatcher was deemed important.
> What could that mean? Perhaps he was a chief, perhaps a priest, perhaps a
> retired warrior. You are right we don't know.
> But the whole point of archaeology is to explore options suggested to us by
> the physical remains of the past to make inferences about the past; and
> thereby learn more about ourselves.
> Dave Tooke
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On 15 Dec 2014, at 19:37, Raymond Nilson <[log in to unmask]>
>> This sort of story is interesting up to a point. However, to put it
>> colloquially, it really winds me up when I see these stories in the media.
>> Why do we persist to allow such pontificating reporting regarding
>> archaeology? How on earth do we know this human was a chief? Did they
>> build a time machine and go back and ask him? Moreover, modern western
>> superficial conceptions of 'seniority' would most-likely have been
>> completely dichotomous to these groups in the past. The article states,
>> nonetheless, that the information they have provided is 'fact' advocated
>> by science. It appears that they know everything about this man. Do they
>> also know his name? Was it Frank?
>> Ray (BA, MA).
>> Doctoral Research Student
>> Archaeology, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures,
>> University of Manchester
>> From: British archaeology discussion list [[log in to unmask]] on
>> behalf of John Wood [[log in to unmask]]
>> Sent: 15 December 2014 16:20
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: [BRITARCH] Racton Man
>> A nice little write up on the BBC website:
>> And will be appearing on BBC South Today tonight.
>> Particular interest to me as I used to live in the parish.