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The Megalithic Monuments of Britain and Ireland

The Megalithic Monuments of Britain and Ireland The Megalithic Monuments of Britain and Ireland by Chris Scarre

From Stonehenge to Newgrange, one of the richest arrays of megalithic monuments in Europe is found in Britain and Ireland.

Using massive stone blocks (megaliths), timber posts and mounds of earth or chalk, great monuments were built from the beginning of the Neolithic some 6000 years ago down into the Bronze Age.

The number and sheer diversity of these structures is astonishing. Stone circles and chambered tombs, burial mounds and earthwork enclosures, henges and cursus monuments, all belong to the same general category of monumental prehistoric architecture.

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Tombs, sanctuaries, places of cult and of memory: these Neolithic monuments had numerous functions in prehistoric societies. Transforming the landscape, such grand structures must have represented for their communities a particular way of responding to changing social and symbolic needs, whether processing the dead, gathering for ceremonies or embellishing locations that were of sacred significance.

Organized by geographical area, this authoritative overview is ideal for traveller and student alike.

Chris Scarre is a specialist in the prehistory of western Europe, with a particular interest in the archaeology of the Atlantic façade (Portugal, France, Britain & Ireland). He took his MA and PhD at Cambridge, the latter a study of landscape change and archaeological sites in western France. From 1990-2005 he was editor of the Cambridge Archaeological Journal and Assistant (later Deputy) Director of the the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge. In January 2006 he took up the position of Professor of Prehistory at the Department of Archaeology at Durham.

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