School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Rachel Crellin

Rachel Crellin

Scales of time, scales of change: the emergence of a Bronze Age on the Isle of Man.

Subject area: Archaeology
Supervision team: Dr Chris Fowler, Dr Jan Harding

Personal profile

I completed my undergraduate degree in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. I specialised in archaeology and received a first class honours degree gaining the highest mark in my year.

Through my time at Cambridge I developed a keen interest in the nature of theory and material culture and the influence of recent theories from the discipline of Material Culture Studies on archaeology.

With this in mind I went on to study an MA in Material and Visual Culture Studies at University College London in their anthropology department. At UCL I was able to broaden and deepen my theoretical interests studying subjects as diverse as the anthropologies of consumption, media, art and landscape.

My MA thesis used ethnographic research to explore an anthropology of the seascape as experienced by small boat users on the Isle of Man. I achieved a distinction in my MA studies.

My PhD research focuses on the nature of change in archaeology and is supervised primarily by Dr Chris Fowler. This research was designed to consider and re-theorise the nature of change and time in prehistory.

This issue is confronted through the case study of the transition from the Late Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age on the Isle of Man.

Until the Late Neolithic the archaeology of the Isle of Man fitted within broader patterns of material culture, mortuary practice and social traditions across the rest of the British Isles.

During the Late Neolithic the Isle of Man does not seem to be a part of the widely shared characteristics of the Late Neolithic elsewhere in the British Isles- instead the Isle of Man exhibits a unique material culture of flints, pottery, burial practices and settlement patterns that is termed the “Ronaldsway Neolithic”.

The Ronaldsway Neolithic is painted as a period of ‘unique’ cultural identity for the Isle of Man, however from 2200BC Ronaldsway cultural practices are abandoned and the island appears to re-integrate into the wider patterns of material culture that define the Early Bronze Age of the rest of the British Isles.

My research will seek to understand and explain this change without being evolutionary or technologically deterministic.

It will form a new contribution to Manx archaeology bridging the gap between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age as well as seeking to be more widely relevant by considering how archaeology studies and theorises change at different levels and on different scales.

In addition to my PhD I teach on the course ARA2001 Archaeological Theory and Interpretation.

I also work for the Centre of Manx Studies helping to deliver their fieldschools in archaeological excavation techniques on the Isle of Man, and act as the project administrator for the AHRC funded project The Tyne-Forth Prehistory Forum organising our day conferences, managing the website and facilitating the general running of the project.

The Forum brings together archaeologists involved with research into prehistoric archaeology in north-east England and south-east Scotland. Its membership consists of archaeologists working in universities, museums and heritage agencies, of students, volunteers and members of amateur archaeology groups, and contract archaeologists.

Papers presented

TAG 2010: Exploring the Manx Seascape: materialities and understandings of space at sea.
Newcastle University Post Graduate Forum: Exploring the Manx Seascape.