Not All That Glitters is Gold? Rock Crystal in the Early British Neolithic at Dorstone Hill, Herefordshire, and the Wider British and Irish Context

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Irene Garcia Rovira
  • Dana Challinor
  • Tim Hoverd
  • Keith Ray


Evidence for working rock crystal, a rare form of water-clear type of quartz, is occasionally recovered from prehistoric sites in Britain and Ireland, however, very little has been written on the specific methods of working this material, and its potential significance in the past. This paper presents the first synthesis of rock crystal evidence from Britain and Ireland, before examining a new assemblage from the Early Neolithic site of Dorstone Hill, Herefordshire. This outlines a methodology for analysing and interpreting this unusual material, and, through comparison with the flint assemblage, examines the specific uses and treatments of this material. Far from being used to make tools, we argue the distinctive and exotic rock crystal was being used to create distinctive and memorable moments, binding individuals together, forging local identities, and connecting the living and the dead.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article numberFirst View
JournalCambridge Archaeological Journal
VolumeFirst View
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2022