In the mid-20th century, the leading authorities were in no doubt that farming was introduced into Britain by immigrants from the near continent (Childe 1940, 40; Fox 1943, 84; Piggott 1954, 90). Farming methods were however thought to have been extensive. Domestic animals were viewed as more important than cereals, because cereal productivity was low (ibid.). In Denmark, Johannes Iversen (1941) had argued that the palynological evidence indicated that cereals were grown in temporary plots: fields were cultivated for just a couple of years before they lost their fertility, so the farmers then moved on and cleared a new patch of forest. Grahame Clark integrated this with the British evidence then available. Neolithic farmers, he argued, had no means of increasing soil fertility, but practiced shifting cultivation. The ard was introduced only in the Late Bronze Age, the heavy wheeled plough at the end of the Iron Age (Clark 1940, 19-20; 1945, 67; 1952, 97ff.). He proposed that cattle stalls inside houses were known only in the Iron Age, coinciding with the appearance of the plough; in the shifting cultivation phase cattle were not stalled (Clark 1952, 125).
|Title of host publication||Farmers at the Frontier|
|Subtitle of host publication||a Pan-European Perspective on Neolithisation|
|Editors||KJ Gron, P Rowley-Conwy, L Sørensen|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 28 Oct 2019|
Rowley-Conwy, P., Gron, K. J., Bishop, R. R., Dunne, J. B., Evershed, R. P., Longford, C., Schulting, R., & Treasure, E. (Accepted/In press). The Earliest Farming in Britain: towards a new synthesis. In KJ. Gron, P. Rowley-Conwy, & L. Sørensen (Eds.), Farmers at the Frontier: a Pan-European Perspective on Neolithisation Oxbow Books.