原文已被隐藏，你可用 快捷键 - 或点击 显示原文 按钮来查看原文
1 .Good morning everyone.
2 .Last week we were looking at the hunter - gatherers in Ireland, across the Irish Sea from England.
3 .Today, we're going to move on to the period between four and six thousand years ago, known as the Neolithic period, which is when a total farming economy was introduced in Ireland.
1 .Now, there are several hypotheses about the origins of the first Neolithic settlers in Ireland but most of these contain problems.
2 .For instance, there are considerable archaeological difficulties about the theory that they came from England.
3 .The evidence doesn't really add up.
4 .But there are even greater practical problems about the theory that they came directly from continental Europe.
5 .For one thing, it's not clear just how sufficient numbers of men and women could have been transported to Ireland to establish a viable population.
6 .As you know, the hunter - gatherer economy which existed beforehand was based on small scattered groups.
7 .The farming economy would almost certainly have required much larger communities to do all the work needed to plant and tend sufficient crops to sustain them through the year.
1 .The early farmers kept various animals, including cattle and sheep.
2 .There's also evidence of pigs, but it is possible that these could have been descended from the native wild species.
1 .Now, we know from modern farming that if the level of breeding stock falls below about three hundred females, the future of the species locally is at risk.
2 .So we must assume that from the beginnings of Neolithic farming the number of breeding sheep would have considerably exceeded three hundred, and the national cattle herd must have been of a similar size.
3 .The question is how these were brought to the area and where they came from.
1 .It's usually suggested that the Neolithic settlers used skin - covered boats to transport livestock.
2 .But this method would have severely restricted the range of the colonising fleets.
3 .The sheer volume of animal transport necessary means it's unlikely that this livestock could have been brought from anywhere further than England.
1 .What about crops?
2 .Well, two main cereal crops were introduced to Ireland during this time: wheat and barley, both in several varieties.
3 .The main evidence for their presence consists of impressions on pottery, where a cereal grain accidentally became embedded in the surface of a pot before it was fired.
4 .The grain itself was destroyed by the firing, but it left an impression on the pot which could be studied and identified by botanists.
1 .Let's turn our attention now to the farming technology available at that time.
2 .Before the cereal crops could be planted, it would have been necessary to clear the forest and to break the ground by ploughing.
3 .The stone blade of a plough has been discovered during excavation in County Mayo in western Ireland.
4 .The body of the plough would have been of wood and could have been drawn by people, but it's also likely that cattle were used.
5 .Now, the cultivation of crops and the husbandry of livestock brought about changes in people's lifestyle such as the type of shelters they made.
6 .For one thing, instead of moving from place to place they needed permanent dwellings.
7 .The stone axes used to chop down trees to make these dwellings were far superior to any that the Stone Age hunter - gatherers used.
1 .To make the axes, sources of suitable stone had to be found and systematically exploited.
2 .These so - called 'axe factories' were really quarries rather than factories, as the manufacture of the axes wasn't regularly performed on the quarry site.
3 .However, after the axe had been chipped into shape, they needed water and sand for grinding and polishing, so a high mountainside wouldn't have been an appropriate place for this.
4 .So this final stage of the manufacture must have been carried out close to water and sure enough, there's ample evidence of this at coastal sites.
1 .Now it's clear that these Neolithic axes were transported all over Ireland, as well as to Scotland and the south of England.
2 .It's not really surprising that axes from 'axe factories' in England have also been found in Ireland.
3 .At the very least, this indicates that there was a link between the two islands during that period.
1 .One of the most useful innovations of the colonisers was pottery making, which was quite unknown to Irish hunter - gatherers.
2 .The pottery was probably made by shaping clay into a ball with the hand, and then hollowing it until the walls were the right thickness.
3 .After firing, the outside was often polished.
4 .This would have helped the pots to retain water, as they weren't glazed.
5 .Now we know that the clay used usually came from local sources, which suggests that manufacture was on a fairly small scale, even though thousands of fragments are usually found at Neolithic sites.
6 .In the course of time decoration began to appear.
7 .At first this looked like a series of stitches and was just around the tops of the pots.
8 .This could have been an imitation of earlier vessels which were made of leather sewn onto wood.
1 .Then eventually pots with decoration all over...