Monuments and Landscape in Atlantic Europe: Perception and Society during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age

Monuments and Landscape in Atlantic Europe: Perception and Society during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age

Monuments and Landscape in Atlantic Europe: Perception and Society during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age

Monuments and Landscape in Atlantic Europe: Perception and Society during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age

Synopsis

Atlantic Europe is the zone par excellence of megalithic monuments, which encompass a wide range of earthen and stone constructions from inpressive stone circles to modest chambered tombs. A single basic concept lies behind this volume - that the intrinsic qualities encountered within the diverse landscapes pf Atlantic Europe both informed the settings chosen for the monuments and played a role in determining their form and visual appearance. Monuments and Landscape in Atlantic Europe goes significantly beyond the limits of existing debate by inviting archaeologists from different countries with the Atlantic zone (including Britain, France, Ireland, Spain and Sweden) to examine the relationship between landscape features and prehistoric monuments in their specialist regions. By placing the issue within a broader regional and intellectual context, the authors illustrate the diversity of current archaeological ideas and approaches converging around this central theme.

Excerpt

The present volume owes its origins to a chance conversation at the Theoretical Archaeology Group meeting in Cardiff in December 1999. A number of speakers (including myself) had presented papers discussing the relationship of Neolithic monuments to landscape and to the nature/culture divide. It appeared to be an ideal moment to expand the discussion to include archaeologists from several different areas of western Europe, and so it was that a session entitled 'Monumentality and Landscape in Atlantic Europe' was held at the European Association of Archaeologists conference in Lisbon in September 2000. With one exception, the papers in this volume derive directly from those delivered at the Lisbon conference. My thanks go to the conference organisers, to the individual speakers, and a double thanks to Richard Bradley who helped chair the session. The final contribution to the present volume was not delivered at the conference, but Alasdair Whittle kindly accepted the invitation to provide an overview and summing-up for the papers published here.

An editor of a volume such as this owes many debts of gratitude, but I should like to reserve special mention for my colleagues at the McDonald Institute, especially Mrs Liz Farmar, and to Julene Barnes, Polly Osborn, Ruth Jeavons and the staff at Routledge who so expertly guided it through the press. We hope that the resulting volume will serve to illustrate a diversity of approaches grouped around a common theme: in what ways did the landscape of Atlantic Europe influence and inspire the forms and locations of the Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments that were built there?

Chris Scarre

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