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Critically examine the claim that coastal finds of boats and shipwrecked cargos of metalwork are evidence for

organised cross-Channel trade in commodities during the later Bronze Age. The aim of this paper is to analyse the underwater archaeological record from the later Bronze Age Channel by virtue of its supposed relationship with trade in commodities during this period. We know that Bronze Age is a socio-technique period, but I take Needham and Kaul chronology (via Van de Noort, 2006: 270) as our frame of reference, 1150 and 750 calibrated B.C.; the most of our archaeological record comes from modern studies, that have been measured by modern techniques, so I have not problem to compare different chronologies. However, we should point out that an important group of offshore finds had been found by amateur divers, so some chronologies of the objects had been done from their metallurgical style (Samson, 2006: 375). Our spatial frame of study is the Channel, emphasizing on British coast, and I will take some other Bronze Age Britain boats as examples. This paper will be developed as it follows: first of all, I examine our knowledge of prehistoric economics, from a strict economic science perspective, and how it can be related with the archaeological record in a general sense. That includes main definitions to those terms that we use in our present understanding of the world, such as commodities and trade and how it can be applied to non-industrial societies. Afterwards, I discuss the relevant archaeological record, to link it with that theory referenced before. Along the paper we will have to deal with the religious evidence in non-writing societies, very important subjects if we consider that some interpretations of deposits had been related with sacrifices (Taylor, 1993: 8) I should point out that I consider those off-shores finds represent just a small part of all the seafaring activity, following Samson (2006: 376). Economic science studies the managing of resources, as its own name indicates. That resources are managed, following Adam Smith (2001, 713), into two ways, value in use, and value in change. Difference between them is that first one makes reference to that capacity to use of that resource, while second one makes reference to ability to exchange by other resources. If we compare, we can mainly said that those things which are interpreted as commodities by archaeology got a high value in use, while those who are interpreted as prestige goods got a very high value in change. The main problem appears when we should decide the role played in a society by an archaeological item. I think the way to give more or less value is established in function of three factors: difficulties to find raw material needed (stone, tin, copper, gold, iron...), difficulties to crafting (smiting...) and difficulties to bring it. For Adam Smith (2001, 759) the labour (the crafting) define the value; Marx thought labour got a very important weight, but do not define value (1970, 15). If we apply to British archaeology, we should say that most of the metalwork hoards in Bronze Age are linked with value in change, because even tin is so common in Britain (we should link that with Cassyeterides mentioned by Strabo (III, 5, 11), even if that author makes differences between those ones and Britain (II, 5, 30) ), it requires a hard technology and labour (smiting), and sometimes exchange networks along Britain territory, or in this case, with continental Europe. Those values could variate in time in relationship with material needs of every society; so, as metal (or metalwork) could be considered a commodity in our industrial world, there is no need of so high quantity of metal in Bronze Age, where mainly play a role of value in change. That value could variate until change itself role in society (Bradley, 1985: 694). The value in exchange is established and variates by access to resources (understood as three factors said before), even no-raw resource, that in archaeological science we can compare with items. So, when a society got a very easy access to a big quantity of those resources, they lost their value in change. That make as unstable that societies as much they depend on a huge exchange network. For the Bronze Age Western Europe we can really talk about a developed exchange network which interconnected all Atlantic coast. That makes ruling class from that prehistoric societies richer, but in the same way they became dependent from those networks. In that way, Kristiansen understood the ingrowing of hoards on Late Bronze Age Southern England, after a

supposed economic block to Britanny (2000: 150 ), a deliberately action to destruct wealth (action that would increase the value in change of those objects which would not be destructed): of course, in those societies it would not appear in their ideology like a strictly economic movement, but like a exchange with Gods or spirits (Bradley, 1982:119-20) However, some archaeologists (Gosden, 1989: 359; Gregory, 1982) had pointed out that the concept of value, mainly value in exchange, is proper for industrial societies, but not for precapitalist ones. Instead value they prefer to use the concept debt, from perspective that prestige goods were valued in function of their distances to get, and not their invested labour. That point is not so far from Rowlands' perspective (1980, 46); the fact is that, even for Smith and Marx, that debt, translated in transport, duties, and client phenomena are, precisely, labour. I think that these differences between debt and labour are in truth consequence of one-discipline studies, and we are totally able to use value concept on pre-capitalist societies, just understanding that the most common of the labour, in the background of value, is the transport. Trade is understood like the most complex on exchange networks, with some ideological adds, like legitimation of that kind of contacts between two or more human groups. Since archaeological record is quite hard, if not impossible, to detect that kind of ideological print, so it is frequent to say that some kind of archaeological record it is related with trade because its size, avoiding another hypothesis like just a big exchange network, without any ideological trade concept. I think that, first of all, every exchange activity depends on means of transport. We got evidence on a high quality navigation since Early Bronze Age for Britain (Chapman, 2005: 45), but maybe we should, for this period, give more importance to northern ports, as North Ferriby natural harbour, and maybe connections with central Europe (2005: 46). Although of that, seagoing was extremely dangerous, as we can see reflected on some texts from Antiquity (San Pablo Act. 27, 20). Physical impediments were an added factor to avoid what ancient social structures forbid: not directly as Ulysses, and in the most developed societies by States, reflected on institution of Karum (Prez Largarcha, 1998: 312); so, the first requirement to talk about trade in Bronze Age is to accept that one as a exchange process with non-presence on private action, even in Near East societies; only political power was strong enough to develop that enterprises. But just their size would not be enough to talk about trade. The development of a complex network depends on their ties with other human groups; I think we are able to talk about trade when we find non casual contacts, ritualized and repeated actions, and some interest in a kind of exact item during a long period of time. On other side we should consider other ideological ties totally invisibles on archaeology that only could be suspected on those societies through literary and ethnography comparative sources. For this period, we are able to talk about complex exchange network without any doubt, but just about trade if we think in the specifically situation on Bronze Age. Bronze Age shipwrecks in Britain had been studied at least since 1930's. Alice Samson made a compendium of Channel findings in a paper (2006) with a similar topic that this one, although she includes offshore finds since the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age. Those finds are shown in the Figure 1 (Samson, 2006: 372), at the end of this paragraph. From that paper we can point out, first of all, that while other contemporary finds like Ulu Burum in a more developed societies are composed by some materials, our finds are only metalwork (2006: 379). There is no a special pattern of quantity and distribution in every find (2006: 373-4). The most of them are composed by less than ten pieces, but Salcome Bay finds (1300-1150) are twenty objects, while Langdon Bay record (1300-1150) is composed by more than three hundred items, fact that has been considered like a factor to interpret Langdon Bay in a different way than other Channel finds, but like other kind of offshore finds, as Huelva (2006: 380). Finds from our spam of study (1150-750 B.C.) are less frequent (2006: 378), while Taylor pointed out that there is an increase on land hoards, broadly near Thames valley (1993, 55) which would be related with the destruction of wealth referenced by Kristiansen (see above). Quantity of items is expressed in percentile numbers (2006, 377): 54%

weapons, 42% tools, 4% ornaments. However, that percentage variates if we not consider Langdon Bay: 50% weapons, 39% tools, 11% ornaments. We should remember that all axes are included, automatic, and probably without a strict criteria, like tools.

Samson also made reference to the origin of raw material. There is just two finds in Samson work that does not come from Atlantic coast or nearby (2006, 374): the first of them, metalwork came from central Europe, it is not strictly in Channel, but in Humberside. Maybe we should compare that with a possible reminds from one of the first Bronze Age Britain connections with Europe, while in Bronze Age got a special energy in that region (Chapman, 2005:43), even it is dated in LBA. The other one is settled in Hengistbury Head, Dorset, and it came from Sicily. The rest of the finds came from coastal places, but a sword found in Dover, which probably came from the Loire estuary area. That could add some value in use to those items we are working with, in view of the fact that those ones would not come from a very far place. However, some axes would represent each chiefdom or political groups (Samson, 2006: 385), so they would have travel a relative distance. Even with different kinds of depositions, I think there is no signal that allows us to say since archaeological perspective that there was a trade on commodities for this period and space. There are proofs enough to talk about a developed and organised trade, such as routes (some items on different dates (Samson, 2006: 373-374)), or common kind of items (2006: 379), even repeated sacrifices (see above), fact that could be related with some other land-fare finds (Taylor, 1993: 7), outside of our offshore finds. However, there is no presence of pottery which would be the transport for that commodities. There is no animal bones, or any kind of plant prints on durable material. Material found in archaeological record should be linked with another kind of exchange (even with the gods, as it is shown later). It could be argued that an exchange of metalwork would be developed in a second place, but I do not think it is really needed if those human groups got an easy access to commodities in their home-lands. The development on new industries, as metallurgy, does

not do it needed for common live on a human group, but usually it would strengthen social and power relationships (Braudel, 1998: 128). In the same way that there is not just one kind of deposit, I think there is not just one way to interpret all that off-shores. Some of that finds are enclosed to damaged items during their living cycle period (Samson, 2006: 375), so it would be easy to relate that one with sacrificial (granted to the gods, from Latin sacer and facere) deposits. However, working on Prehistory and Antiquity (and mainly in pre-industrial societies) is impossible to detect a real fracture between religious and not religious facts, and all attempts will be artificial. In a world where there is not rational knowledge about weather (and some other dangers), every action and travel would be preceded by sacrifices, some of them with archaeological record, some without it. In difficulties on that kind of actions and their sacrifices we must remember the well-known example on Troy war when Agamemmnon must to sacrifice his daughter to save the expedition (Eur. Iph. 92), at least as a far model for our interpretation on British sacrifices. In that line, we should interpret some of those items damaged during their livings, so it is not needed (even recommended) to interpret all these like a (failed) action to protect cargo of a trip. In Cato the Elder (De Agr. 135-141), during Roman Republic, sacrifices seems like a common transaction with Gods, as the same way that with other exchangers, just another supplement action in pragmatic Roman way of life; despite Roman society was much more developed than Bronze Age ones, I think that this kind of attitude could be a real reminiscence from a very early period, probable that Bronze Age. Afterwards, as destruction as disappearance of wealth got the same meaning in economics: ingrowing of value of that kind of objects which remains in the human group. We should point out in a different way those items which are found totally alone; to interpret that ones, at least just as a working hypothesis, I will avoid problems in archaeological science, as destruction of record or possible movement of pieces under seas. Since that perspective, I think it is important the fact that these kind of finds are common on Belgium coasts, made from British and French metalwork (Samson, 2006: 382); it would be interpreted like the sacrifice of foreign (so very expensive, following Rowlands) items. Those ones would be outside, mainly, from Channel routes, so even that practices would be repeated on the same Channel (2006: 371), there are not common on it. There is not an specific remains on archaeological record on just strictly religious actions. Despite all that archaeological record that had could been destroyed, Channel offshore finds seems so different that these ones where we knew from Mediterranean as Ulu-Burum (Bass, 1991); that kind of exchange was, without any doubt, part of a complex network which would cover more than social debts, but needs from a diversified ruling class, with more roles developed. Hardly its destruction could be related directly with a sacrifice, as some had done for Britain shipwrecks, as Owain Roberts said (2002: 25). The only presence on metallurgy makes reference to a special interest in that kind of items, which long spam along time prevent us to talk about a punctual need. Instead of trade in commodities, this archaeological record allow us to talk about another kind of trade. Although we could think that commodities trade remains could be disappeared from the record, that societies does not really need commodities from the other side of the Channel. Bradley (1985, 694-5) suggested a relationship between those ones and Baruya, studied by Godelier (1977); in Baruya's analysis I consider important its perspective on item's value, which suggests a double use for important resources (salt in Baruya, metalwork on Bronze Age Britain) as gifts goods and money as the same time, depending on the situation (1977: 128). However, I think that for our study we can add a new perspective, based on all-European Bronze Age trade. Britain societies would have developed their own exchange network; I do not think those groups would have had egalitarian relationships but hierarchical, which leadership would be established in reason of their position on prestige goods trade. That power relationships would be reinforced, I do not think created, by huge demands on more developed and complex Near East societies, in a clear colonialist

model. Maybe we could imagine change on power on those chiefdoms in reason on Near East trade routes preferences and chances. Maybe we are able to make an approach to that kind of trade since mythological perspective, specifically on very detailed Greek myths. That kind of approaches should be understand just like main ideas because, even if those myths would be close from real social relationships, they does not represent real facts; it is important to point out, anyway, that if trade relationships would be inherited from that developed societies, it would be possible to suggest that Britain societies would developed similar myths: but all that is, finally, speculation, and we have no proofs of that mythological transfer to Atlantic Europe, at least for this early period. Greek myth deals with Mediterranean societies, much more developed, so from that literature we only can get main ideas. The background on Theseus' myth is the colonial relationship between Crete's monarchy and Athens (Plu. Thes. 15.1). Duty (or debt in Gosden meaning) expressed on human sacrifices would not represent a real need on Minos economy, but an increase on its power (mainly on its ruling class and his legitimation), and a reflection of non-material duties, as help in warfare, as we maybe shall interpret, carefully, from Illiad and loyalty of kings to Agamemmnon (II). Precisely in the Illiad we found those metalwork as awards to games after Patroclus' death (XXIII, 255ss). As we have seen, trade and economics in early metallurgic societies, states or chiefdoms, have been a frequent topic in scientist literature. We are not able to talk about trade in the same way that we do for industrial societies, not only because material means of production, but because those societies were developed in a different way than present one. However, there were very complex exchange network which reinforce social relationships, not just with other human groups, but with their own groups. British societies had not got the shortage of main resources, or commodities, as Near Eastern societies had, so, if we do not find (as we have seen) any proofs on the archaeological record of that commodities trade, we can say, at least as a working hypothesis, that this trade does not exist. However, from the archaeological record we detect a complex exchange network, that I think we are able to call trade. That trade would be just one symbol of the way into a strong hierarchical society, reinforcing power relationships into each group.

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