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1986 Radiocarbon dates from three tombs at Loch Calder, Caithness, Scot Archaeol Review 4, 2-10

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This paper is an exploration of the chronological development of a series of elaborate and architecturally distinctive chambered tombs on the Islands of Orkney. It begins with a short critique of the present views of the Orcadian Neolithic and highlights a failure to understand chronological developments as the most significant problem. Thus after a brief classification of the monuments there is a detailed discussion of the chronological evidence which consciously avoids typological assumptions. This is followed by an examination of the various uses the tombs were put to and involves an assessment of the location and architectural visibility of the monuments and the remains found in the chamber. When combined with the chronological evidence a series of changes in monument size, type, location and use can be hypothesized for the neolithic period. This culminates in a shift away from burial monuments to physically defined spaces, presumably used for ceremonial purposes. These changes can be interpreted as deliberate manipulation by groups within that society to change the ideological concepts which defined the role of the individual in relation to the other members of the society.
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