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Stonehenge for the ancestors: The stones pass on the message

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Abstract

ANTIQUITY has had a long tradition of publishing pieces on Stonehenge, represented in our cover design. Here we present an intriguing and thought-provoking paper, which draws an analogy with Madagascar to help explain the meaning of the enigmatic monument.

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... Wider archaeological examples and debates are discussed in relation to Duddo in terms of the social significance of the monument relating to themes of kinship, politics, religion, social reproduction, communication and ritual procession (Bloch 2008;Sahlins 2008;Wengrow & Graeber 2015;Edwards 2007;Waddington1999b). Sites of comparison are also taken into consideration such as Stonehenge, Thornborough Henge and Mount Pleasant (Petrie 1880;Evans 1885;Childe 1936;1964;Parker Pearson 1999;2005;Parker Pearson & Ramilisonina 1998;Parker Pearson et al. 2015;Tilley 1994;Thomas 1996) as well as stone circles generally (Burl 1976;2000). ...
... The discussed archaeological literature is inclusive of publications with specific reference to Duddo and Milfield (Tate 1885;Craw 1935;Burl 1971;Burl & Jones 1972;Harding 1981;Waddington 1999a;1999b;Waddington & Williams 2002;Miket 1981;Miket & Edwards 2008;Edwards 2007;Edwards et al. 2011), sites which are comparable at both the local and regional scale of the monument and its associated complex (Thomas 1996;Parker Pearson 1999;2005;Parker Pearson et al. 2015;Bender et al. 2007;Harding et al. 2013) and wider theoretical concepts of both archaeology and anthropology (Petrie 1880;Evans 1885;Childe 1936;1964;Tilley 1994;Parker Pearson & Ramilisonina 1998;Parker Pearson et al. 2015;Bloch 2008;Sahlins 2008;Wengrow & Graeber 2015). ...
... The later re-use in particular provides an indication as to the social reverence that may have been held by both the stone circle itself and by the cremated individual. This infers not only the nature of the social construction of this landscape as one of death and burial (Parker Pearson 1999;2005;Parker Pearson & Ramilisonina 1998;Parker Pearson et al. 2015), but also the nature of the society that existed alongside it in terms of its structures of kinship, politics and religion (Petrie 1880;Evans 1885;Childe 1936;Bloch 2008;Sahlins 2008;Wengrow & Graeber 2015). Also significant is the monument's continued use through time, as evidenced through deposition of material culture including unstratified worked and unworked flint, polished stones, animal bone, a clay pipe and stamp, a fragment of post-medieval pottery and stratified modern coins. ...
Thesis
This paper aims to analyse the significance of Duddo Stone Circle – an Early Bronze Age monument at the north-eastern tip of the Milfield Basin – within its local, monumental and social landscapes from an interdisciplinary perspective. Assessment of the monument’s importance in prehistory includes an exploration into the archaeological record and proposed function of the stone circle itself, an overview of the nested landscapes within which it is posited and an analysis of how these two zoned landscapes may reflect dualistic cultures that existed in symbiosis. Also explored is the way in which the landscape of Duddo Stone Circle is understood and constructed by its modern visitors, and the extent to which these results may be considered relevant to the monument’s original people and purpose. These analyses included the use of archaeological, anthropological and sociological theory interwoven with the qualitative and quantitative results of my own fieldwork and observations. Through contextualising the stone circle in this way, I hope to portray a holistic picture of the enduring significance and unique quality of Duddo Stone Circle.
... From the perspective of our 'Stones of Stonehenge' project (Parker Pearson et al. 2015a, the hypothesis that Stonehenge was built for the ancestors could be expanded to explain the significance of the bluestones as markers of ancestral identity that originally formed a circle or monument in Preseli (Parker Pearson & Ramilisonina 1998). Our previous excavations at Stonehenge have provided evidence that the bluestones were first set up in the Aubrey Holes (the ring of pits that surround the stone circle) during the monument's first construction stage, beginning in 3080-2950 cal BC (95% probability; Parker Pearson et al. 2009Pearson et al. , 2020Darvill et al. 2012). ...
Article
The discovery of a dismantled stone circle—close to Stonehenge's bluestone quarries in west Wales—raises the possibility that a 900-year-old legend about Stonehenge being built from an earlier stone circle contains a grain of truth. Radiocarbon and OSL dating of Waun Mawn indicate construction c. 3000 BC, shortly before the initial construction of Stonehenge. The identical diameters of Waun Mawn and the enclosing ditch of Stonehenge, and their orientations on the midsummer solstice sunrise, suggest that at least part of the Waun Mawn circle was brought from west Wales to Salisbury Plain. This interpretation complements recent isotope work that supports a hypothesis of migration of both people and animals from Wales to Stonehenge.<br/
... This is perhaps surprising given the explicit landscape-scale and context of analysis and interpretation embodied in much of this work, including special prominence given to structured 'symbolic landscapes', cosmography and architectural order (e.g. Darvill, 1997;Parker Pearson and Ramilisonina, 1998;cf. Darvill, 2006, Lawson, 2007. ...
... That being said, patterns of spatial distribution of archaeological burials and descriptions of burial mounds and internments in houses suggest commemoration of important dead peoples in the land (Allen 2002:40-43;Bloch 1971;Isbell 1997;Parker-Pearson and Ramilisonina 1998;Salomon 2011Salomon [1995; Scherer 2015: Chapter 4). As such, these deceased likely figured prominently in foundational narratives describing the genesis of social identities and groups. ...
Article
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This essay presents a reconstruction of principles of sociocultural affiliation among sixteenth century native societies of the Cauca River area of Colombia, South America. In a comparative appraisal of documentary and archaeological evidence, I contend that systems of inter- and intra–societal affiliations tended to be of a more inclusive, flexible, and group–oriented nature. This principle is exemplified by the presence of relatively formal homogeneity in portable industries found alongside the Cauca River area. In addition, evidence for funerary rituals strongly indicates a greater emphasis on collective over individualized representations of the dead.
... Although comparisons with recent examples of megalithic construction have been made (e.g. [1][2][3]), explicitly comparative studies on the social implications of this specific phenomenon are still rare. Our research in the Indian state of Nagaland follows such a comparative approach [3][4][5]. ...
Article
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Among various Naga communities of Northeast India, megalithic building and feasting activities played an integral role in the different and intertwined dimensions of social and political organisation until very recently. During a collaborative fieldwork in 2016, we visited different village communities in the southern areas of Nagaland and recorded local knowledge about the function and social implications of megalithic building activities. The preserved knowledge of the monuments themselves and their embeddedness in complex feasting activities and social structures illustrate the multifaceted character of megalithic building. The case study of Nagaland highlights how the construction of megalithic monuments may fulfil very different functions in societies characterised by institutionalised hierarchies than in those that have a more egalitarian social organisation. The case study of southern Naga communities not only shows the importance of various dimensions and courses of action–such as sharing and cooperation, competitive behaviour, and the influence of economic inequality–, but also the importance of social networks and different layers of kinship. The multifaceted and interwoven character of megalithic building activities in this ethnoarchaeological case study constitutes an expansion for the interpretation of archaeological case studies of monumentality.
... Monumental collective burials have perhaps most commonly been cited as evidence for ancestral veneration, a practice seen as intrinsic to Neolithic ontologies across much of Europe and beyond (e.g. Parker Pearson and Ramilisonina 1998;Li 2000;Kuijt 2002;Stoddart and Malone 2015;Alt et al. 2016). In 4th millennium BC Britain, the widespread practice of collective burial and the manipulation of human remains has often been linked to an ideology of corporate ancestors (Barrett 1988(Barrett , 1994Bradley 1998;Shanks and Tilley 1982;Thomas 1999, 162). ...
Article
Tinkinswood chambered Neolithic tomb in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, was originally excavated in 1914 and the human remains found within were analysed by the renowned anatomist Sir Arthur Keith. Further excavation has recently been carried out in the surrounding landscape and the monument itself has been the focus of community archaeology and outreach projects. These works attest to the continued archaeological importance of the site in its local area, yet the results of Keith’s work remain cited a century later. Considering the recent initiative to re-analyse many Neolithic skeletal assemblages, this study presents the results of a new taphonomic assessment of the human skeletal material, significantly revising earlier interpretations. The estimated minimum number of individuals (MNI) represented in the assemblage is reduced, more closely corresponding with recent results obtained at other contemporary monuments. Analysis of post-depositional modification suggests remains were not manipulated during the perimortem interval. The relative representation of skeletal elements indicates that selected long bones were removed from the tomb, revealing a complex and prolonged process of engaging with the dead.
... The introductory chapter sets out the extraordinary vision and scope of the endeavour, with a map (Fig. 1.7) showing the location of the 56 trenches excavated, reminding the reader of the sheer scale of the project. Originally fieldwork was conceived to test the hypothesis that Stonehenge was a monument to the ancestors and was linked to the ceremonial timber and earth complex at Durrington Walls, interpreted as the domain of the living, by the River Avon (Parker Pearson & ramilisonina, 1998). However, as the project developed several other research objectives emerged, leading to investigations at the Stonehenge Greater Cursus and nearby Amesbury 42 long barrow, at two natural sarsen stones (Cuckoo Stone and Tor Stone), at a bluestone scatter near Fargo Plantation and a sarsen-dressing area to the north of Stonehenge. ...
... This might give a special perspective on the biography of axes. The relationship between the softer wood and the harder stone has been presumed to encapsulate an important dualism between birth and death, when the human body grows harder with time and is transformed into stone after death (Parker Pearson & Ramilisonina 1998a:313, 1998b). ...
Conference Paper
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... The purpose of Stonehenge and the activities that took place within the monument have been subject of much research (Whittle, 1997;Parker Pearson and Ramilisonina, 1998;Darvill, 2016). Understanding how the site responded to sound and how this might have influenced behaviour is an important aspect to study. ...
Article
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With social rituals usually involving sound, an archaeological understanding of a site requires the acoustics to be assessed. This paper demonstrates how this can be done with acoustic scale models. Scale modelling is an established method in architectural acoustics, but it has not previously been applied to prehistoric monuments. The Stonehenge model described here allows the acoustics in the Late Neolithic and early Bronze Age to be quantified and the effects on musical sounds and speech to be inferred. It was found that the stone reflections create an average mid-frequency reverberation time of (0.64 ± 0.03) seconds and an amplification of (4.3 ± 0.9) dB for speech. The model has a more accurate representation of the prehistoric geometry, giving a reverberation time that is significantly greater than that measured in the current ruin and a full-size concrete replica at Maryhill, USA. The amplification could have aided speech communication and the reverberation improved musical sounds. How Stonehenge was used is much debated, but these results show that sounds were improved within the circle compared to outside. Stonehenge had different configurations, especially in terms of the positions of the bluestones. However, this made inaudible changes to the acoustics, suggesting sound is unlikely to be the underlying motivation for the various arrangements.
... Stone is regarded as 'eternal' in many cultures, past and present, across the globe. It appears to be frequently linked to monumentality and ancestor worship, both seemingly universal phenomena (Assmann 1988;Parker Pearson and Ramilisonina 1998). When investigating stone in the context of human-related events and processes, its durability instantly turns into a central issue in the articulation of social, cultural, and historical narratives. ...
Chapter
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Late prehistoric standing stones, decorated stelae and statue-menhirs in Iberia could be linked to processes of consolidation, such as boundary formation or the creation of collective identities. Nonetheless, the materiality and temporality of stone reveal that the link between stone and consolidation processes is not straightforward. Stone can be vibrant and fluid and not necessarily stable; it is the resilience of its relationships (rather than matter) which forge processes akin to the concept of petrification. That is, stone may not petrify, and even when it does it needs persistent work to maintain it that way. Therefore, it is here proposed that the examination of processes of petrification needs to pay attention to materials, their relationships, and histories. A series of case studies are discussed to exemplify how Iberian late prehistoric sculptures are composed of a variety of overlapping relations. Some relations (e.g. similarity; association with a place) endured resulting in the creation of sculptural traditions (or standards) and some significant persistent places. But even those relations that were long-lasting have complex historicities which emphasise instability and change through time.
... En cuarto lugar, las cámaras megalíticas fijaban el tiempo mediante los complejos programas iconográficos a que daban soporte en forma de escultura y pintura. Por una parte, se ha propuesto que los monolitos que integran los espacios y monumentos megalíticos (menhires, ortostatos, estelas) representaban a menudo antepasados reales o míticos, cuya memoria habitaba y protegía el espacio sagrado: se ha propuesto que las piedras en sí mismas sugerían imágenes antropomórficas a los ojos de los constructores y usuarios de los sitios megalíticos (PARKER-PEARSON Y RAMILISONINA, 1998;CALADO, 2004). Las investigaciones más recientes sobre el llamado arte megalítico, que en este volumen quedan reflejadas en el trabajo de Bueno Ramírez, Balbín Behrmann y Barroso Bermejo, han puesto de manifiesto la fuerza expresiva que debían tener algunas de estas representaciones, por ejemplo en cuanto a formas, colores y símbolos, evocando a poderosos personajes del pasado. ...
Article
En este trabajo se plantea la significación de los sitios megalíticos como dispositivos culturales dedicados a la fijación material del tiempo. Dado el carácter fundacional que tienen como elemento fundamental de la construcción del paisaje cultural de las primeras sociedades agrarias, los monumentos megalíticos adquieren una extraordinaria capacidad de permanencia en la memoria colectiva, convirtiéndose en referentes materiales de las identidades, las relaciones y prácticas sociales y las ideologías a través de los siglos. Esta capacidad de permanencia excede ampliamente los límites temporales convencionalmente atribuidos a la Prehistoria, entrando de lleno en el ámbito de las sociedades antiguas, medievales y modernas
... Once again, this is something we encounter in burials, where ancestral bodies are defined by the hard, dry bones resulting from the decay of living (or transitioning) fleshed bodies. Stone may have stood for what the ancestors were made of (Bradley 1991(Bradley , 2012Parker Pearson and Ramilisonina 1998). Building on these considerations, I argue that the stone people should be interpreted as "special" ancestors, singled out by the living for distinct acts of remembrance. ...
Article
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The Late Neolithic and Copper Age were a time of change in most of Europe. Technological innovations including animal traction, the wheel, and plow agriculture transformed the prehistoric economy. The discovery of copper metallurgy expanded the spectrum of socially significant materials and realigned exchange networks away from Neolithic “greenstone,” obsidian, and Spondylus shells. New funerary practices also emerged, signifying the growing importance of lineage ancestors, as well as new ideas of personal identity. These phenomena have long attracted researchers’ attention in continental Europe and the British Isles, but comparatively little has been done in the Italian peninsula. Building on recent discoveries and interdisciplinary research on settlement patterns, the subsistence economy, the exchange of socially valuable materials, the emergence of metallurgy, funerary practices, and notions of the body, I critically appraise current models of the Neolithic-Bronze Age transition in light of the Italian regional evidence, focusing on central Italy. In contrast to prior interpretations of this period as the cradle of Bronze Age social inequality and the prestige goods economy, I argue that, at this juncture, prehistoric society reconfigured burial practices into powerful new media for cultural communication and employed new materials and objects as novel identity markers. Stratified political elites may not be among the new identities that emerged at this time in the social landscape of prehistoric Italy.
... As archaeologists, usually engaged in describing and interpreting ancient archaeological sites, we wanted to first explore this pseudo ancient site through an archaeological lens. We know from archaeological studies of ancient stone circles and megalithic monuments that sites such as Stonehenge have been interpreted as places for commemoration, seasonal gatherings and ritual (Parker Pearson 2013;Parker Pearson and Ramilisonina 1998) traditions that persist in some form or another today. Stonehenge draws people annually to observe the midsummer and midwinter sunrises to marvel at the solar alignment of the monument and experience a sense of connection with the ancestors. ...
Chapter
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Burning Man is an annual participatory arts event and temporary city co-created in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada. Also known as Black Rock City, it has spawned a global movement with over 100 “regional events” (or “burns”) worldwide. Conveying qualitative findings from surveys targeted at European Burning Man participants (or “Burners”) and triangulating these findings with ethnographic fieldwork and interviews conducted in Germany, the chapter explores the complexities of Burning Man’s stature as a transformational event prototype. We recognise burns—Black Rock City and its worldwide progeny events—as experimental heterotopia, or “counter spaces,” that enable a proliferation of ritualesque and carnivalesque performance modes. By addressing Burner values and motivations, we discuss the appeal of burns, notably their multiplex potential for personal and cultural innovation. As this chapter illustrates, the performative/transformative logic of Black Rock City, the complexity of which is mirrored and mutated in progeny events, inheres in an ethos known as the Ten Principles. Part of a larger project addressing the transformative innovation of Burning Man, the multi-methodological investigation of this event culture focuses on the principles of Gifting and Leaving No Trace highlighted in German Burner initiatives.
... This might give a special perspective on the biography of axes. The relationship between the softer wood and the harder stone has been presumed to encapsulate an important dualism between birth and death, when the human body grows harder with time and is transformed into stone after death (Parker Pearson & Ramilisonina 1998a:313, 1998b). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
... As quoted in Higginbottom et al. (2015), it is still uncommon for 'prehistorians to move beyond generalised statements and toward the detailed interpretation of particular beliefs and ceremonial practices' (Harding et al. 2006, p. 27) or indeed towards deep reflective considerations of what the cosmological systems might be, in particular within British archaeology (exceptions include Bradley 2012Bradley , 2013Bradley and Nimura 2013;Burl 1981;Darvill 1997Darvill , 2016Gillings 2015;Parker Pearson and Ramilisonina 1998;Parker Pearson et al. 2011;Pollard and Ruggles 2001;Richards 1996bRichards , 2013aSims 2009, in press;Whittle 1997;Whittle et al. 1999). However, it is clear that, with apparently simpler standing stones at least, we can now move beyond very simple statements when Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. ...
Article
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https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10963-020-09139-z This paper presents a study of free-standing Bronze Age megalithic monuments across western Scotland: Argyll, Lochaber, Kintyre, and the isles of Mull, Coll and Tiree. The original project was designed to unearth the locational choices of their builders, the reasons for these choices, and what they reveal about the belief systems of these societies. Using statistical analyses and 2D and 3D GIS, it will be demonstrated that vision is the main force behind locational decisions. The GIS analyses revealed that the builders chose a particular horizon shape, defined by qualities of distance, direction and relative apparent height as viewed from the monument (altitude). Significantly, approximately half the sites have the same locational variables as all the sites considered on the isles of Coll and Tiree (labelled ‘classic sites’: Higginbottom et al. in J Archaeol Method Theory 22:584–645, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10816-013-9182-7), while the other half are the topographical reverse (‘reverse sites’), where the major ‘astronomical show’ differs due to the topographical differences between the site types. It is relevant to note that landscapes that block views of particular major astronomical phenomena in the south are significantly more common at reverse sites than at classic sites. Specific results pertaining to individual areas will also be highlighted. It will be seen that the interplay between the astronomy and the topographical choices of the builders at each site highlights possible cosmological ideologies that can be observed and that were shared across western Scotland.
... While highly speculative, the interpretation of Durrington Walls and Stonehenge as part of a rite-passage from the world the living to the world of the dead, from wood to stone, is very attractive. The ceremonial procession in this rite of passage included not just a simple trek from Durrington Walls to Stonehenge, but it probably also included funerary feasting before transportation along the Avon River, marking the transition from life to death, and further downstream transportation of the bodies to their final resting place: Stonehenge (Parker Pearson/Ramilisonina 1998;Parker Pearson et al. 2006). There are very few prehistoric rituals that have been explained in such detail. ...
Article
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Rituals are a seemingly indispensable-some might say an all-pervasive-aspect of human existence in premodern and ancient as well as in modern times. In the following, some aspects of archaeology, rituals and landscapes will be examined. At the same time, we demonstrate that archaeological interpretation, like any other scientific work, does not exist in a vacuum, but always has and probably will continue to draw on influences from other academic disciplines.
... The use of wood for Betsimisaraka tombs is unusual in Madagascar where stone is otherwise preferred as a medium of permanence that represents and even embodies the ancestors (Parker Pearson & Ramilisonina 1998). The reason for this aberration is quite simply that stone is scarce on this lowland coastal plain; the problem is solved by selecting wood from harder species of tree to stand in for stone. ...
... Rather than restricting archaeological theory to the university lecture room or student conference, this is both a pragmatic and public, politically explicit archaeology.Challenging rigid Western assumptions in my guide does not end with, for instance, differentiations between religion and economics. A case in point, that shows how a shamanistic approach to the Neolithic challenges previous binary and functionalist interpretations, confronts shamanophobia, and adds to the interpretative debate, concerns a recent exciting Antiquity paper.ParkerPearson and Ramilisonina (1998) argue that monumental Avebury was embedded in relations with ancestors that are analogous to the Madagascan emphasis on ancestors. Their discussion focuses on how the ancestors and the living fit into Avebury's landscape, but despite mentioning the prevalence of spirit possession by ancestors in Madagascar, they do not explore this possibility for the Neolithic. ...
Thesis
p>'Shamanism' is an anthropologically constructed concept to explain a socio-religious phenomenon in many non-Western societies that enables community healing via interactions with spirits. In this thesis I explore archaeological and anthropological perspectives on, and more importantly, attitudes towards, 'Neo-shamanism'. I use such theoretical and methodological approaches as alternative archaeology and experiential anthropology, which coalesce, into what I call an 'Autoarchaeology': to understand the past it is imperative we explicitly consider, and take into account, our own sociopolitical locations and motivations. An archaeology of shamanism therefore begins not with shamanism in the past, but with neo-shamanism in the present. In presenting an ethnography of neo-shamanism, I first discuss how our perceptions of shamanism are heavily influenced by neo-shamanism. I scrutinise main figures in neo-shamanism and specific examples of neo-shamanic practice, on the basis of their universalising, psychologising and romanticising of shamanism. I then critically compare a neo-shamanic case example of Celtic neo-shamanism with Heathen neo-shamanism, two traditions that reconstruct and revive ancient north European pagan religions. I assess these practices in terms of their authenticity and value to archaeologists and historians. Neo-shamanic interactions with archaeological sites, particularly Stonehenge and Avebury are also discussed. The preservation ethic of the heritage industry is contrasted with the neo-shamanic view that perceives ancient monuments to be spiritually alive. Finally, I examine neo-shamanic appropriations of indigenous shamanisms, particularly with regard to Native America. Chaco Canyon in New Mexico is used as a case example of a disputed archaeological site. Critics perceive neo-shamanism in stereotypical ways; it is seen as a monolithic entity and dismissed. In contrast, I point to great diversity in neo-shamanism and argue that exploring this variety reveals both positive and negative aspects. A more contextualised approach that is socially and politically sensitive, is essential. In conclusion, I suggest strategies looking towards reciprocal benefit, such as forums for meeting and negotiating where communication and education are otherwise lacking. Despite the extremely sensitive and intrinsically political nature of the issues, they must not be left untouched. On the contrary, if the socio-political issues arising from this discussion are not addressed by the interest groups concerned, a contemporary neo-shamanic agenda for the archaeological past and ethnographic present will compromise all voices into increasingly difficult positions. </p
... Bradley 2013) or through ethnographic analogy (e.g. Parker Pearson & Ramilisonina 1998). The posthumanist approach, however, is less concerned with the interpreted meaning, and more with the routes and processes through which is meaning that are encountered. ...
Thesis
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Agricultural terracing, the intentional creation of stepped fields on a hillslope, is ubiquitous in a variety of arid, semi-arid and wet regions in the world. Superficially, it is observable as a significant investment in wide scale landscape alteration for agriculture. However, it represents more than the sum total of its constituent parts – appearing symbolic of the complex social dynamics intrinsically linked to environmental adaptations and technological change (Geertz 1963). As a practice which represents a fundamental step in the human appropriation of the natural landscape, agricultural terracing remains remarkably under-examined. Crucially, terraces can be considered as one of the earliest forms of landscape alteration for human gain – specifically where humans adapt the landscape to suit their needs, as opposed to by-product change. As such, terraced environments can be classed as an ‘anthroscape:’ an environmental aesthetic which is dominated by the infrastructural effects of contemporary human ecology. To this effect, the central theme of this thesis was to establish if agricultural terracing acts as a fundamental part of the resilience of fragile landscapes in the Mediterranean and beyond. The investigation of agricultural terraces demands a rigorous and multi-faceted approach in order to elucidate a full range of scientific observations such as form, function, variation, chronology and social management. Nowhere is this more relevant than in the Maltese archipelago where terraces are, somewhat paradoxically, extant in use and enigmatic archaeologically. As such, this thesis employs an appropriate archaeological methodology to examine terraces from both geoarchaeological and social perspectives. By combining these methodologies, terrace function is objectively analysed, in terms of landscape/geomorphic process, and the attached, contributing/reflexive, social machinations can be examined. In doing so, a scientific and socially relevant understanding of terracing practices has been achieved. This thesis utilises archaeological excavation and geoarchaeological sampling to enable an exploration of terrace soil stratigraphy and geochemistry – observing the variation down-profile, down-slope and between geological regions. Analytical methods used were Particle Size Analysis, Loss-on-Ignition, Ion Chromatography, pH and X-Ray Diffraction. These data were analysed for statistical correlation to indicate salient factors affecting terraced soils in the Maltese Islands. Developing from this, a comparison with 19th Century cadastral land quality assessment and a modern logistic regression analysis study (Alberti et al., 2018) facilitates the application of geoarchaeological observations to the iii understanding of the social ecology of terraces. This is framed by an exploration of the cognitive origins of the human appropriation of environments.
... The authors conclude that the landscape surrounding Stonehenge had been deliberately shaped to ensure lines of sight between specific locations, such as burials and the main monumental site. This implies a relational system of meaningful places, and thus a highly symbolic landscape 4 (Exon et al. 2000: 106-107; see also Bradley 1998: 126-131;Parker Pearson and Ramilisonina 1998;Tilley 2010: 95-96). 5 ...
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The archaeological record of funerary practices of the southern Calchaquí valleys, Northwest Argentina, offers fruitful ground to explore past significances embedded in the material forms of burial traditions. The recurrence of cemeteries and tombs located in sandy soils forwards plausible interpretations with regards to the notion of ‘death’ and the metaphors of ‘heat’ and ‘dryness’, a conceptual link that has been highlighted by ethnohistorical and ethnographic records of the Andes. Such accounts are used here with the purpose of generating interpretative hypotheses. This article argues that the sensorial qualities of particular landscapes and materials were one of the resources used to define the space of the dead during the Formative Period (ca. 1500 BC–1000 AD) in the southern Calchaquí valleys.
Article
In response to Timothy Darvill's article, ‘Mythical rings?’ (this issue), which argues for an alternative interpretation of Waun Mawn circle and its relationship with Stonehenge, Parker Pearson and colleagues report new evidence from the Welsh site and elaborate on aspects of their original argument. The discovery of a hearth at the centre of the circle, as well as further features around its circumference, reinforces the authors’ original interpretation. The authors explore the evidence for the construction sequence, which was abandoned before the completion of the monument. Contesting Darvill's argument that the Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge originally held posts, the authors reassert their interpretation of this circle of cut features as Bluestone settings.
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In 2016 Olivier Gosselain published a paper in Archaeological Dialogues suggesting that ethnoarchaeology should “go to hell”. His provocation misrepresents the ethnoarchaeology of the past quarter century, as is evident in a literature of which he appears largely unaware. Here we refute his charges, showing, for example, that ethnoarchaeologists neither regard the societies with which we work as living fossils, nor do we entertain naïve stereotypes regarding their workings. Our refutations are accompanied by commentaries on topics raised that introduce readers to the substantial recent literature. Far from a wreck, ethnoarchaeology, a form of material culture studies practiced by and mainly for archaeologists, has vigor and relevance, making theoretical, methodological and historical contributions that are worldwide in scope. And as we demonstrate for Africa, non-Western ethnoarchaeologists contribute substantially to the ethnoarchaeological literature.
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This paper explores possibilities for recognizing and analytically using culturally-specific understandings of artefacts and spaces at an ancient Maya archaeological site. In the case study that we present, we use Classic Maya material categories – derived from hieroglyphic texts – to re-envision our representations of artefactual distributions and accompanying interpretations. We take inspiration from countermapping as an approach that recognizes the positionality of spatial representations and makes space for multiple/alternative spatial perspectives. We present spatial analyses based on our work at the Classic Maya archaeological site of Say Kah, Belize, juxtaposing modern modes of visualizing the results of multiple seasons of excavations with visualizations that instead draw upon reconstructed elements of ancient inhabitants’ perspectives on the site, its spaces, and usages (based on information drawn from Classic Maya textual ‘property qualifiers’). We argue that even incomplete information, such as that available for archaeological contexts, allows us to reimagine past spatial perspectives and experiences. Furthermore, doing so represents a move towards inclusion that changes our understanding of sites in terms of ancient experience and usage. The outcome is a shifted perspective on the spaces of the site that decentres the modern, archaeological vision, accompanied by a more reflexive awareness of the processes we use to construct our interpretations. We end with larger reflections useful for archaeologists curious about translating these ideas to other cultural settings.
Chapter
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During the 2001 excavation season, a fragment of a small miniature mask depiction was found in Enclosure D. The fragmentarily preserved object was originally ovaloid in form, the back is concave. It features a very prominent nose and large, nearly open-worked eyes. An indention supposedly depicting the mouth is rather small, on the other hand, and not very deep. The mask measures just 1.3x0.7cm. The surface is darkened-greyish, which indicates burning in reducing conditions. Whether the mask was intentionally burned remains uncertain; a future scientific examination of the find could resolve this issue. The article explores the potential meanings of this unique find.
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The archaeological record of funerary practices of the southern Calchaquí valleys, Northwest Argentina, offers fruitful ground to explore past significances embedded in the material forms of burial traditions. The recurrence of cemeteries and tombs located in sandy soils forwards plausible interpretations with regards to the notion of ‘death’ and the metaphors of ‘heat’ and ‘dryness’, a conceptual link that has been highlighted by ethnohistorical and ethnographic records of the Andes. Such accounts are used here with the purpose of generating interpretative hypotheses. This article argues that the sensorial qualities of particular landscapes and materials were one of the resources used to define the space of the dead during the Formative Period (ca. 1500 BC–1000 AD) in the southern Calchaquí valleys.
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A series of massive geophysical anomalies, located south of the Durrington Walls henge monument, were identified during fluxgate gradiometer survey undertaken by the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project (SHLP). Initially interpreted as dewponds, these data have been re-evaluated, along with information on similar features revealed by archaeological contractors undertaking survey and excavation to the north of the Durrington Walls henge. Analysis of the available data identified a total of 20 comparable features, which align within a series of arcs adjacent to Durrington Walls. Further geophysical survey, supported by mechanical coring, was undertaken on several geophysical anomalies to assess their nature, and to provide dating and environmental evidence. The results of fieldwork demonstrate that some of these features, at least, were massive, circular pits with a surface diameter of 20m or more and a depth of at least 5m. Struck flint and bone were recovered from primary silts and radiocarbon dating indicates a Late Neolithic date for the lower silts of one pit. The degree of similarity across the 20 features identified suggests that they could have formed part of a circuit of large pits around Durrington Walls, and this may also have incorporated the recently discovered Larkhill causewayed enclosure. The diameter of the circuit of pits exceeds 2km and there is some evidence that an intermittent, inner post alignment may have existed within the circuit of pits. One pit may provide evidence for a recut; suggesting that some of these features could have been maintained through to the Middle Bronze Age. Together, these features represent a unique group of features related to the henge at Durrington Walls, executed at a scale not previously recorded. Full publication of research at Durrington as an open access article by Internet Archaeology at - https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.55.4
Chapter
This chapter explores the role of petrification in the course of the Neolithic in Britain and Ireland. While this period is famed for its megalithic architecture, monuments were also built in more malleable or less durable materials, including earth and wood. Some stone chambers resembled wooden ones, and some stone chambers and façades directly replaced an earlier wooden chamber and/or façade. Yet some stone-built monuments were successively reworked over time: mounds were added to incrementally, new chambers were built and sometimes older ones were blocked off in the process. The chapter considers: the effects of building in stone, including equivalences as well as differences between large stones and large trees; the diversity of ‘stone’; the juxtaposition of the hard and enduring nature of large stone structures against the properties of other media transformed at monumental locales; and the tension between stability and change that this petrification provided. While we can identify times and places when petrification accelerated, there was no single, unidirectional or homogenous process of petrification across the entire region and period. The study argues that petrification is most useful when considering its relative character and contribution in wider changing prehistoric materialities.
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This paper addresses the role of analogical reasoning in archaeoastronomy - the discipline which studies the connections between the ancient monuments and the heavens. Archaeoastronomy is a highly interdisciplinary science, placed at the border between the humanities – especially archaeology – and the scientific approach to cultural heritage. As a consequence, its scientific foundations are a delicate matter. We plan to investigate here the question of what constitutes the evidence for analogical inferences in archaeoastronomy and to what extent one can achieve confirmation of archaeoastronomical hypotheses by means of such analogies. Our claim will be that, when deployed in accordance with the methodology articulated in this paper, analogies can be a highly effective epistemic tool for generating and supporting hypotheses about the relation of archaeological sites with astronomical events.
Article
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Family history research has seen a surge in popularity in recent years; however, is this preoccupation with who we are and where we come from new? Archaeological evidence suggests that ancestors played crucial and ubiquitous roles in the identities and cosmologies of past societies. This paper will explore how, in the absence of genealogical websites and DNA testing, kinship structures and understandings of personhood beyond genealogy may have influenced concepts of ancestry. Case studies from later prehistoric Britain will demonstrate the ways in which monuments, objects and human remains themselves created bonds between the living and the dead, prompting us to reflect on genealogy as just one aspect of our identity in the present.
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For 20 years visibility analysis has been one of the most popular archaeological applications of geographical information systems (GIS) for interpretive purposes. In 2003 Lake and Woodman provided a detailed account of the various forms that GIS-based visibility analysis had taken up to that time. They argued that such analyses could be divided into those that were predominantly informal, statistical, or humanistic and, furthermore, that this tripartite division recapitulated-albeit over a compressed timescale-theoretically driven developments in non-GIS visibility studies. Nearly 10 years on it is probably safe to say that all three forms of GIS-based “viewshed analysis” have lost their novelty value. Thus informal viewshed analyses, those that lack statistical or theoretical sophistication and adopt a largely common-sense approach to inference (Lake and Woodman, 2003), are no longer found in methodological literature but are scattered through the relevant subject literature. More interesting is the lack of evidence that more sophisticated statistical or humanistic analyses routinely contribute to archaeological explanation/ interpretation (but see Gillings, 2009, for a recent exception). We suspect that the increasing use of multicore processors-and the power of modern desktop computers more generally-will lead to a resurgence of interest in GIS-based visibility analysis. To see why such resurgence might occur, we revisit the distinction between statistical and humanistic GIS-based visibility analyses
Book
Gardening may seem worlds away from Nuraghi and brochs, but tending a garden is a long process involving patience, accretion and memory. Scholars argue that memories are also cultured, developed and regained. The monuments in Scotland and Sardinia are testament to the importance of memory and its role in maintaining social relations. This collection of twenty-one papers addresses the theme of memory anchored to the enduring presence of monuments, mainly from Scotland and Sardinia, but also from Central Europe and the Balkans.
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The book is a compilation of 21 contributions to honour the work of Leendert P. Louwe Kooijmans. A copy of every individual paper can be downloaded from DANS EDNA https://easy.dans.knaw.nl/ui/datasets/id/easy-dataset:33749/tab/2
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This chapter presents the philosophical principles, values, and ethics that are the foundation for and that guide the research on past Hopewellian peoples and the descriptions of them attempted in this book. Three matters are addressed. First is the particular philosophy of cultural analysis that has inspired the studies presented in this work. Second are the topics that we value, emphasize, and find essential to anthropology if it is to attain its goal of understanding other peoples and their ways. Third is how our philosophy and topics align with and depart from past and current trends in academic anthropology and the social sciences.
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In this chapter we discuss findings from a UK music festival research project focusing on Glastonbury festival, one of the largest music, arts and performance festivals in the world. We explore a unique aspect of the festival site; a monumental stone circle that was created specifically for the event in 1992, known as the Swan Circle. The relatively recent creation of a monument mimicking a megalithic monument on the festival site is an interesting phenomenon in itself, raising questions about the reworking of mythological and ancient traditions and their interweaving into contemporary festival narratives.
Book
Petrification is a process, but it also can be understood as a concept. This volume takes the first steps to manifest, materialize or “petrify” the concept of “petrification” and turn it into a tool for analyzing material and social processes. The wide array of approaches to petrification as a process assembled here is more of a collection of possibilities than an attempt to establish a firm, law-generating theory. Divided into three parts, this volume’s twenty-plus authors explore petrification both as a theoretical concept and as a contextualized material and social process across geological, prehistoric and historic periods. Topics connecting the various papers are properties of materials, preferences and choices of actors, the temporality of matter, being and becoming, the relationality between actors, matter, things and space (landscape, urban space, built space), and perceptions of the following generations dealing with the petrified matter, practices, and social relations. Contributors to this volume study specifically whether particular processes of petrification are confined to the material world or can be seen as mirroring, following, triggering, or contradicting changes in social life and general world views. Each of the authors explores – for a period or a specific feature – practices and changes that led to increased conformity and regularity. Some authors additionally focus on the methods and scrutinize them and their applications for their potential to create objects of investigation: things, people, periods, in order to raise awareness for these or to shape or “invent” categories. This volume is of interest to archaeologists, geologists, architectural historians, conservationists, and historians.
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Domestic architecture played a central role in the identity of later prehistoric communities, particularly in creating lasting bonds between the living and the dead. Acting as a conduit of memory and legacy for successive generations of inhabitants, roundhouses straddled the divide between house and memorial. The exceptionally well preserved Late Iron Age settlement at Broxmouth in southeast Scotland demonstrates the potential of biographical approaches in understanding the central role that roundhouses played in fashioning the identity of successive households, and the role of objects in constructing genealogical narratives.
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Colour is a fundamental human experience – if not a universally constant one. There are, after all, individuals who are colour-blind to various degrees, or even those that see extra colours. However, there is something about the perception and categorisation of colour that is near uniform across humanity, as evidenced by Berlin and Kay’s Basic Color Terms and studies into the key mechanisms of colour vision. Deeper still, it seems to be the case that specific colours re-appear in human art, iconography, ritual and folklore as a leitmotif running through our cultural evolution; that is, the colours red, white, and black. Evidence for this significant triad, as well as other colours showing repeated and deliberate selection, has been gathered and analysed. A summary of the literature on this is presented in this, along with a review with existing work on colour, and why the materiality and material semiotics of stone are important to this research. The aim of this research is to survey a sample of Neolithic monuments across Atlantic Europe, and see if there are any commonalities, significant patterns, and demonstrable signs of specific colour selection that may hint at colour being an important part of Neolithic cosmology – regionally, locally, or culturally. There has been some work touching upon this concept, most recently and notably at the Clava Cairns and sites on Arran; this study will develop this existing research and deepen the understanding of colour use in the Neolithic. In order to see if the fascinating possibilities raised in these works has broader Neolithic context, this research will study sites in similar levels of detail at locations across Atlantic Europe. This will include many styles of monument, from stone circles to passage graves to long barrows to stone rows, in order to evaluate colour significance across a broad range of monument building traditions. Colour was recorded via both human perception and through the use of a digital recording device, custom designed for this project. Recording these colours using a digital tool achieves two things: namely, to go some way towards compensating for the fallibility of the human visual cortex, and to provide a vector for the material properties to speak without being directly interpreted by a human intermediary. This taking into account of the material agency of the stones themselves played a key role in understanding the networks of influence that colours may have had on Neolithic peoples, and how this could have affected their cosmologies. The main stage of this research is six case studies of groupings of Neolithic monuments across the Atlantic façade of north western Europe. Discussion is focused through a lens of these findings along with studies into ethnographic parallels on colour use, stone provenance, and materiality among early farming societies. Using the methodology refined by the initial pilot studies, these six regions are examined for patterns and connections, and analysed both within their own regions and in a wider context, to enable statements on the importance of colour to Neolithic monument builders to be made.
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Article
Long-term interactions between people and places has been a focal point for archaeologists since the beginnings of the discipline. Monuments are one analytical unit of analysis that archaeologists regularly study and interpret as evidence for the ways people organize cooperative labor and inscribe on the landscape their connections to it. However, it is rare to acquire data that affords a rich and long-term description of the landscape before, during, and after a monument was built. In addition, archaeologists who study pre-textual societies are seldom afforded an opportunity to explore detailed questions relating to how monuments were engaged with after social dis-positions toward them changed. In this article we present diverse datasets obtained from a small Middle Woodland (ca. 200 cal BC-cal AD 500) ditch and embankment enclosure in the Middle Ohio Valley, USA. Drawing on those data, we offer a detailed biographical description of the site that illustrates how pre-construction use of the area influenced construction of the enclosure, describes how the enclosure was used after construction, and indicates what happened when the enclosure became evaluated differently in society.
Book
Archaeology and its Discontents examines the state of archaeology today and its development throughout the twentieth century, making a powerful case for new approaches. Surveying the themes of twentieth-century archaeological theory, Barrett looks at their successes, limitations, and failures. Seeing more failures and limitations than successes, he argues that archaeology has over-focused on explaining the human construction of material variability and should instead be more concerned with understanding how human diversity has been constructed. Archaeology matters, he argues, precisely because of the insights it can offer into the development of human diversity. The analysis and argument are illustrated throughout by reference to the development of the European Neolithic. Arguing both for new approaches and for the importance of archaeology as a discipline, Archaeology and its Discontents is for archaeologists at all levels, from student to professor and trainee to experienced practitioner.
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Astronomy and Stonehenge: almost everyone has heard of this connection, so that Stonehenge has to be the almost obligatory starting point for our archaeoastronomical quest.
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Modern archaeology has amassed considerable evidence for the disposal of the dead through burials, cemeteries and other monuments. Drawing on this body of evidence, this book offers fresh insight into how early human societies conceived of death and the afterlife. The twenty-seven essays in this volume consider the rituals and responses to death in prehistoric societies across the world, from eastern Asia through Europe to the Americas, and from the very earliest times before developed religious beliefs offered scriptural answers to these questions. Compiled and written by leading prehistorians and archaeologists, this volume traces the emergence of death as a concept in early times, as well as a contributing factor to the formation of communities and social hierarchies, and sometimes the creation of divinities.
Article
Further excavation and pedological analysis of the gully forming the southern perimeter of the henge suggest that the channel previously interpreted as a natural stream (see 83/10516) is in fact the 'missing' southern segment of henge ditch. [The file can be downloaded from: https://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archiveDS/archiveDownload?t=arch-352-1/dissemination/pdf/vol_118/118_061_067.pdf]
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This note reports the initial results of a joint multidisciplinary project between the University of Sheffield and the Musée d'Art et d'Archéologie in Antananarivo, which has concentrated on the investigation of the social and economic significance of the tombs that are an outstanding landscape feature in an area of southern Madagascar.
Article
Proposals that Stonehenge was con- structed as an astronomical observatory [1, 2, 3] with the purpose of predicting eclipses [4, 5] imply that the builders of Stonehenge, even Stonehenge I, were possessed of a degree of intellectual sophistication that seems inconsistent with the usual picture of the population of S. England in the and millennium B.C. Either the people were not just primitive farmers or these proposals must be substantially in error. It is not the purpose of this paper to attempt a decision between these alternatives but to explain the nature of the astronomical arguments in more detail than has been done heretofore. My hope is that with a moderate effort it will be possible for the reader to rework the calculations on which the astronomical suggestions have been based; for only when archaeologists and astronomers have understood each other's arguments can we expect to resolve this intriguing dilemma. At several places in the discussion I shall quote the solution of mathematical problems, thereby permitting the whole discussion to be confined to simple trigonometry. These few places will be marked by an asterisk. The reader wishing to cover these gaps will need to consult a text on spherical astronomy, e.g. [6].
Article
ANTIQUITY's recent report on direct radiocarbon dates for human bone from Welsh caves had them concentrated in two distinct Postglacial periods. The larger pattern for Britain as a whole is also striking.
Article
Along the Atlantic seaboard, from Scotland to Spain, are numerous rock carvings made four to five thousand years ago, whose interpretation poses a major challenge to the archaeologist. In the first full-length treatment of the subject, based largely on new fieldwork, Richard Bradley argues that these carvings should be interpreted as a series of symbolic messages that are shared between monuments, artefacts and natural places in the landscape. He discusses the cultural setting of the rock carvings and the ways in which they can be interpreted in relation to ancient land use, the creation of ritual monuments and the burial of the dead. Integrating this fascinating yet little-known material into the mainstream of prehistoric studies, Richard Bradley demonstrates that these carvings played a fundamental role in the organization of the prehistoric landscape.
Article
Summary Excavations at Temple Wood between 1974 and 1980 disclosed a long and complex history. A slightly older and smaller site was confirmed close by to the north of the stone circle: originally a setting of posts, early in the 4th millennium BC it was in process of conversion to a stone circle when dismantled before completion. In its primary phase the main site was a freestanding stone circle, probably built later in the 4th millennium: one of the uprights was carved with spiral and another with ring ornament. An apparent modification was the insertion of dry walling between the stones, with an entrance to the east. Two short cist burials, one containing a Beaker, and each with its own reveled cairn, were placed outside the circle to the north and west. The cist in the centre and possibly a nearby cremation seem to mark the change from ritual to burial use. The drystone wall was thrown down and upright interval slabs were inserted between the standing stones and across the entrance. The addition of an...
Article
Excavations in 1969 within a 35-acre enclosure at Marden on the north bank of the River Avon in the Vale of Pewsey confirmed its association with the Grooved Ware ceramic style and its superficial resemblances to the Durrington Walls enclosure ten miles downstream. A survey of the enclosure produced an unusual plan bounded by a bank with an internal ditch and on the south side by the River Avon itself, whilst the position of the Hatfield Barrow was established by geophysical means. Within the north-entrance causeway a small circular timber structure was recorded in a comparable position to the much larger building at Durrington Walls.
Article
The HBM-sponsored excavations at stone circles 1 and 11 on Machrie Moor, Arran, revealed previous use of the land on which they were situated, with features dating back to the earlier Neolithic. The exact positions occupied by both stone circles were found to have been preceded by timber monuments, comprising several elements in the case of circle 1. Evidence for fenced land divisions and ard ploughing between the timber and stone phases was also recovered. Both stone circles contained a single inserted cremation deposit. Stone circle 1 had been dug into in 1861 by James Bryce but circle 11 was previously untouched, having been almost totally buried in peat. The ceramic assemblage, although not extensive, produced examples of pottery traditions spanning over a millennium.
Article
RESUME II existe a Madagascar un megalithisme subactuel, voire actuel, formellement tres semblable aux « dolmens » et « menhirs » de l'Europe atlantique. Aux XVIIIe et XIXe siecles de notre ere, dans le centre de l'ile en Imerina, furent construits des monuments a sepultures collectives familiales morphologiquement et fonctionnellement comparables aux tombes megalithiques du Neolithique moyen de l'Ouest de la France, dont les dalles de couverture peuvent atteindre 25 m: de superficie pour un poids d'une trentaine de tonnes. Or la tradition orale renseigne assez precisement sur la facon dont les dalles etaient extraites des carrieres qui pouvaient se trouver a plusieurs kilometres ; comment elles etaient transportees sur le lieu d'erection du monument funeraire dont on sait comment il « fonctionnait » au fur et a mesure du depot d'un nouveau corps dans le sepulcre. Cet interet exceptionnel des « dolmens » malgaches, est double par l'existence de nombreuses pierres dressees qui peuvent atteindre jusqu'a 8 metres de hauteur. Les raisons de l'erection de ces « menhirs » — dont existent des repliques en bois — sont multiples, liees a la mort d'une personne, ou a la commemoration d'un evenement important, voire a de simples marques de limites territoriales. De plus, ces monuments, tombeaux megalithiques et pierres dressees, sont en liaison directe avec des habitats particuliers, limites par d'impressionnants fosses souvent multiples, ou l'on penetrait par une ou plusieurs portes megalithiques qui etaient obstruees par une grosse dalle circulaire de pierre roulee chaque soir devant le passage. Certaines presomptions sont en faveur d'une origine indonesienne du megalithisme malgache, cependant le caractere collectif des tombeaux, necessitant une main-d'œuvre importante, parait etre tardif et etre apparu apres une phase de sepultures individuelles. Il semblerait que cette nouvelle mode soit le fait de la volonte d'un roi merina voulant donner plus de cohesion a son peuple. Nous aurions la un modele de societe qui serait passee de maniere autonome de la sepulture individuelle en coffre de pierre a la sepulture familiale dans de grands monuments de type dolmen.
Article
This paper examines the adoption by archaeologists of perspectives of 'land scape' currently being explored in the social sciences. Despite an appreci ation of the social construction of landscape and nature, it is suggested that generally archaeologists have failed to take account of the significance of the social identification of 'natural' constituents of the world. Virtually all societies identify particular 'elements' in the composition of the experienced world and cosmos. The importance of these elements is that they represent the basic substances from which everything is derived and to which every thing decays (including humanity). Therefore, elements maintain ontological status and provide a potent symbolic medium of expression. Here the late Neolithic henge monuments of Britain, the architecture of which has defied archaeological interpretation, is examined in terms of a representation of landscape and a strategic deployment of 'elements'. In particular, the element of water is identified as being a major component in their architectural image and symbolic constitution. The henge monuments are shown to embody a physical representation of the local topography and to draw heavily on that topography to create a series of homologies of landscape. A crucial aspect of this observation is the suggestion that archaeologists have misconceived the visual appearance of henge monuments, particularly the probability that the enclosure ditches were receptacles for water. Furthermore, it is argued that the relationship between henges and rivers provides a metaphorical con junction between the natural flowing of water and human movement into the monuments. It is hoped that this study will focus attention on the import ance of the social constitution of nature and landscape, and the influence this may have on the materiality of architectural representation.
Article
This paper is an exploration of the relationship between topographic features of the landscape, agency and power in small‐scale societies. In it I argue that topographic features of the landscape constitute a series of symbolic resources of essential significance in the formation of personal biographies and the creation and reproduction of structures of power. I attempt to explore these ideas through a discussion of the prehistoric landscapes of Bodmin Moor from the Neolithic to the end of the Bronze Age.
Article
Stone is not only good to build with but to think with as well. Rural populations in the area of Imerina in central Madagascar continue to recognize certain boulders and large stones as associated with supernatural/chthonic forces and they continue to use stone in the construction of tombs and standing stones. The royal oral traditions of Merina monarchs recorded in the 19th century associated early as well as latter ruling sovereigns with stone constructions and the mounting of sacred boulders during various rituals. Such royal use of stone was not a simple and straightforward appropriation of local symbols and world view. It was distinct from but articulated with local practices and beliefs. This may be revealed in aspects of late 18th century royal construction with stone which, while making use of the “muscle” of local populations, may also have made use of the “mind” of full-time ritual specialists from the east coast of the island. Archaeological data, royal oral traditions and ethnographic work with contemporary ritual specialists involved in constructions using large cut stones serve as sources of information for this discussion.
Article
A case of an aggressive calcifying odontogenic cyst of the maxilla is presented. It recurred twice after surgical excision over the course of a year and was subsequently treated by maxillectomy followed by radiotherapy. The current histological criteria for the diagnosis of calcifying odontogenic cyst were satisfied but it is argued that they are drawn too widely. Since the majority of calcifying odontogenic cysts are benign in behaviour the presence of cytological indicators of local destruction and invasiveness alongside the usual features of calcifying odontogenic cysts (presence of dentinoid, epithelial ghost-cell degeneration) should be the over-riding prognostic considerations and should thus be reflected in the diagnostic title. Such tumours are best regarded as variants of ameloblastoma rather than as unusually aggressive forms of calcifying odontogenic cyst and an appropriate name would be 'dentinogenic ghost-cell ameloblastoma'.
The Silbury treasure: the great goddess rediscovered
  • M Dames
The ‘Sanctuary’ on Overton Hill, near Avebury
  • Cunnincton
First impressions: a review of Peterborough Ware in Wales
  • A Gibson
Who needs the past?: indigenous values and archaeology
  • R Layton
Stonehenge and neighbouring monuments
  • R J Atkinson
Stonehenge, land, sky and the seasons
  • Barrett
People into places: Zafimaniry concepts of clarity The anthropology of landscape: perspectives on place and space
  • M Bloch
Patterns of transcendence: religion, death, and dying
  • D Chidester
Excavations at Cairnpapple Hill, West Lothian
  • S Piggott
Stonehenge — the environment in the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age and a Beaker-age burial
  • Evans
A study of possible building forms at Durrington Walls, Woodhenge and the Sanctuary
  • C R Musson
Fomba Antakay (Bezanozano)
  • J Ndema
The excavation of a henge, stone circles and metal working area at Moncrieffe, Perthshire
  • Stewart
The megalith builders
  • E Mackie
Les transformations de l’architecture funéraire en Imerina
  • J.-F Lebras