Monuments and Landscape in Atlantic Europe: Perception and Society During the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age
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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.
fortunately these have avoided the core of the northern part, the most monumental and stoniest area of the site (Figure 3.3). The southern part has been extensively disturbed by agriculture, and potsherds, fragments of granite grindstones and other artefacts are frequently found on the surface, but we do not know the real magnitude of the destruction, nor from where exactly all these dispersed materials came. There do not appear to be any important stone structures in this southern area, such as
Regional variations should, however, be noted. In south-west Spain, the painted rock shelters in the province of Badajoz are located on the cliff edges of major mountain ranges where they dominate extensive vistas (Martínez Perelló and Collado Giraldo 1997). Painted rock shelters are not generally found on the highest mountain peaks. Instead, they are positioned half-way up the slopes of prominent rock formations which stand out as a conspicuous feature in the line of the ridge. The river valleys
locations chosen for ritual monuments by some Atlantic Neolithic societies. A coastal emphasis is apparent in the chambered tombs of the Orkney islands (Fraser 1983; Davidson and Henshall 1989) and is equally striking in the case of Brittany (Figure 6.1). The coastal emphasis of Neolithic chambered tombs in Brittany was remarked by Daryll Forde as long ago as 1930. He interpreted it as a result of a sea-borne colonisation by the Neolithic population, but also as evidence for the importance of
positioned in a landscape ﬁlled with hummocks and is quite difﬁcult to spot at a distance. This effect is most pronounced at the Caves of Kilhern which is surrounded by mounds that have rocky protuberances which look similar to the stone-built structures of the monument (Figure 7.9). Many of these later Neolithic sites are positioned close to outcrops. These outcrops are not as sizeable as those in south-west Wales, but are often quite distinctive, frequently with striking features such as
Orientation of Bronze Age megaliths in south-west Ireland (after De Valera and O Nualláin 1982, O Nualláin 1984 and O Nualláin 1988; with additions). strong religious imperative with deliberate emphasis on the descending or setting sun in late autumn, winter or early spring. The spread of wedge-tomb orientations may relate to different solar or terrestrial alignments with respect to the distant horizon unique to each site. Alternatively, the orientation of each monument may reﬂect the position