chapter  3
26 Pages

Tillage and Hard Labour Arable and Pasture

I f A u b re y ’s views on forest clearance have proved especially perceptive, the quaint environm ental determ inism o f this second passage only prefigures

another aspect o f archaeological thinking. A rable and pastoral farm ing are usually two com ponent

parts o f a harm onious econom ic regim e, but in the literature they are often set in opposition. C alvin W ells, for exam ple, has tried to distinguish between pastoralists and agriculturalists from skeletal evidence alone (1974); and ever since the cautious and rew arding work o f C yril Fox archaeologists have tended to treat his division o f highland and low land zones as an inflexible econom ic frontier. F ox ’s own view was sensibly lim ited: ‘T h e surface conditions in a highland area tend to lim it arable farm ing and to encourage pastoral farm ing, but the great contrasts in the highland and low land zones in Britain . . . render the econom ic life o f the two . . . unusually dis­ tinct’ (1932, p. 53). None o f his twenty-five ‘propositions’ equate this very general division w ith that between two exclusive economies. A nd yet by 1958 Stuart P iggott was arguing that

the type o f Iron A ge econom y associated with intensive corn grow ing . . . is in fact a specialised form o f agriculture having a restricted distribution. . . . O n the whole its north western boundary is the Jurassic R idge. . . . T h ere is evidence that an econom y w hich was not specifically concerned with corn grow ing flourished beyond [this] line. It was based on pastoralism . . . with a probable elem ent o f lim ited nomadism.