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Birch bark tar in early Medieval England: continuity of tradition or technological revival? 

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Birch bark tar in early Medieval England : continuity of tradition or technological revival? . / Stacey, Rebecca J.; Dunne, Julie B.; Brunning, Sue ; Devièse , Thibaut; Mortimer, Richard; Ladd, Stuart; Parfitt, Keith; Evershed, Richard; Bull, Ian.

In: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, Vol. 29, 102118, 01.02.2020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Harvard

Stacey, RJ, Dunne, JB, Brunning, S, Devièse , T, Mortimer, R, Ladd, S, Parfitt, K, Evershed, R & Bull, I 2020, 'Birch bark tar in early Medieval England: continuity of tradition or technological revival? ', Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, vol. 29, 102118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.102118

APA

Stacey, R. J., Dunne, J. B., Brunning, S., Devièse , T., Mortimer, R., Ladd, S., ... Bull, I. (2020). Birch bark tar in early Medieval England: continuity of tradition or technological revival? . Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 29, [102118]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.102118

Vancouver

Stacey RJ, Dunne JB, Brunning S, Devièse T, Mortimer R, Ladd S et al. Birch bark tar in early Medieval England: continuity of tradition or technological revival? . Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 2020 Feb 1;29. 102118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.102118

Author

Stacey, Rebecca J. ; Dunne, Julie B. ; Brunning, Sue ; Devièse , Thibaut ; Mortimer, Richard ; Ladd, Stuart ; Parfitt, Keith ; Evershed, Richard ; Bull, Ian. / Birch bark tar in early Medieval England : continuity of tradition or technological revival? . In: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 2020 ; Vol. 29.

Bibtex

@article{620b086d6b374124ae6a1dcbd2ee5036,
title = "Birch bark tar in early Medieval England: continuity of tradition or technological revival? ",
abstract = "Birch bark tar is a manufactured product with a history of production and use that reaches back to the Palaeolithic. Its sticky, water resistant and biocidal properties mean that it has a wide range of applications, for example, as a multipurpose adhesive, sealant and in medicine. Archaeological evidence for birch bark tar in the old world covers a broad geographic range from the UK to the Baltic and from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia. In the east and north of this range there is continuity of use to modern times but in western Europe and the British Isles the use of birch bark tar has generally been viewed as limited to prehistory, with gradual displacement by pine tars during the Roman period.Here, we report new finds of birch bark tar from two early Medieval sites in the east of England. Analysis by HT-GC/MS to identify the tars also revealed fatty material, possibly added to modify the tar. The different contexts of the finds point to diverse applications of the material: in one case perhaps a medicine, the other associated with a ceramic container, possibly used for processing the tar. The results present the first identification of birch bark tar from early Medieval archaeological contexts in the UK. Together they indicate a later period of use for birch bark tar in the UK than has been previously observed and raise the question of whether this indicates evidence of a longer continuity of use than hitherto recognised or a later reintroduction of the technology in the Medieval period, in which case the similarities between the find sites, both early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries with comparable assemblages of grave goods, may be significant.",
keywords = "birch bark tar, early Medieva, HT‐GCMS, lipids, betulin",
author = "Stacey, {Rebecca J.} and Dunne, {Julie B.} and Sue Brunning and Thibaut Devi{\`e}se and Richard Mortimer and Stuart Ladd and Keith Parfitt and Richard Evershed and Ian Bull",
year = "2020",
month = "2",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.102118",
language = "English",
volume = "29",
journal = "Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports",
issn = "2352-409X",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

RIS - suitable for import to EndNote

TY - JOUR

T1 - Birch bark tar in early Medieval England

T2 - continuity of tradition or technological revival? 

AU - Stacey, Rebecca J.

AU - Dunne, Julie B.

AU - Brunning, Sue

AU - Devièse , Thibaut

AU - Mortimer, Richard

AU - Ladd, Stuart

AU - Parfitt, Keith

AU - Evershed, Richard

AU - Bull, Ian

PY - 2020/2/1

Y1 - 2020/2/1

N2 - Birch bark tar is a manufactured product with a history of production and use that reaches back to the Palaeolithic. Its sticky, water resistant and biocidal properties mean that it has a wide range of applications, for example, as a multipurpose adhesive, sealant and in medicine. Archaeological evidence for birch bark tar in the old world covers a broad geographic range from the UK to the Baltic and from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia. In the east and north of this range there is continuity of use to modern times but in western Europe and the British Isles the use of birch bark tar has generally been viewed as limited to prehistory, with gradual displacement by pine tars during the Roman period.Here, we report new finds of birch bark tar from two early Medieval sites in the east of England. Analysis by HT-GC/MS to identify the tars also revealed fatty material, possibly added to modify the tar. The different contexts of the finds point to diverse applications of the material: in one case perhaps a medicine, the other associated with a ceramic container, possibly used for processing the tar. The results present the first identification of birch bark tar from early Medieval archaeological contexts in the UK. Together they indicate a later period of use for birch bark tar in the UK than has been previously observed and raise the question of whether this indicates evidence of a longer continuity of use than hitherto recognised or a later reintroduction of the technology in the Medieval period, in which case the similarities between the find sites, both early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries with comparable assemblages of grave goods, may be significant.

AB - Birch bark tar is a manufactured product with a history of production and use that reaches back to the Palaeolithic. Its sticky, water resistant and biocidal properties mean that it has a wide range of applications, for example, as a multipurpose adhesive, sealant and in medicine. Archaeological evidence for birch bark tar in the old world covers a broad geographic range from the UK to the Baltic and from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia. In the east and north of this range there is continuity of use to modern times but in western Europe and the British Isles the use of birch bark tar has generally been viewed as limited to prehistory, with gradual displacement by pine tars during the Roman period.Here, we report new finds of birch bark tar from two early Medieval sites in the east of England. Analysis by HT-GC/MS to identify the tars also revealed fatty material, possibly added to modify the tar. The different contexts of the finds point to diverse applications of the material: in one case perhaps a medicine, the other associated with a ceramic container, possibly used for processing the tar. The results present the first identification of birch bark tar from early Medieval archaeological contexts in the UK. Together they indicate a later period of use for birch bark tar in the UK than has been previously observed and raise the question of whether this indicates evidence of a longer continuity of use than hitherto recognised or a later reintroduction of the technology in the Medieval period, in which case the similarities between the find sites, both early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries with comparable assemblages of grave goods, may be significant.

KW - birch bark tar

KW - early Medieva

KW - HT‐GCMS

KW - lipids

KW - betulin

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85076767534&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.102118

DO - 10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.102118

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85076767534

VL - 29

JO - Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports

JF - Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports

SN - 2352-409X

M1 - 102118

ER -