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The origin of the megalithic culture is probably in France

The over wide parts of Europe widespread megalithic culture probably originated in North-Western France. From there, the use of large blocks of stone for graves or cult to have sites along the coasts of the Atlantic ocean and the Mediterranean sea, writes Bettina Schulz Paulsson of the University of Gothenburg in the "Proceedings" of the US National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The technical skills of the people in the early phase of this development, about 7000 years ago were much more sophisticated than previously assumed.

stone circles, stone rows, single standing stones or monuments made up of several stone blocks, so-called Dolmen: megalithic structures found among others in Italy, France, the Iberian Peninsula and the British Islands and also in Scandinavia, Germany and Switzerland. Currently in Europe are far about 35'000 megaliths, writes the archaeologist. What is striking is the Similarity of the structures: the tombs in the whole of Europe, for example, to the East or South or South-East – to the rising sun.

so Far, two theories about the origin of the culture circulating among experts: especially in the early 20th century. Century, thought researchers, the custom of the tribe – such as agriculture – from the middle East. Doubts about this assumption were raised in the 1970s: Dating with the Radiocarbon method (C14) did not support this assumption. Instead, scientists believed the practice originated in different regions separately.

Monumental earth works in North-Western France

Schulz Paulsson created from C14-datings of a good 2400 locations from that period and from archaeological findings, a model to specify the origin and spread of megalithic structures. "The Radiocarbon data indicate that the first megalithic graves in Europe, were small, enclosed structures, or dolmens, the above ground out of slabs of Stone erected, and a mound of earth or stone were covered," she writes. In this first Phase, which began in front of about 6800, therefore, especially places in the North-West of France and on the Iberian Peninsula.

North-Western France considered in Schulz Paulsson as the center of the development, because there there had been earlier monumental works. So the cemetery of Passy contained in the Paris basin, although no stone chambers, but an impressive structure over a length of up to 280 meters, she writes. The oldest tomb in the necropolis will dated to an age of nearly 7100 years.

Shortly thereafter, the first monumental tombs in the Form of round barrows in Brittany were incurred – for example, the huge tumulus St-Michel in Carnac, contains a sealed, stone tomb, and up to 6800 years old. From the Phase of the other buildings in the Region, for the is also completed, the stone burial chambers are typically derived as a consequence.

The mobility of people 7000 years ago has been underestimated.

a Little younger similar sites in the Northern Mediterranean, in Catalonia, southern France, Corsica, Sardinia and in Northern Italy. From about 4200 BC the graves diving in the North of Spain, Galicia as well as in the South of Portugal and the Andalusian Mediterranean region. A new feature was created prior to 6300 years ago, again in France's West: the first dolmens and passage graves, which were no longer closed, so that people could be over the centuries. As an example, the researcher called the tomb of Péré at Prissé-la-Charrière in New Aquitaine, and Lannec he Gadouer in Brittany.

In the next Phase, which began around 6000 years ago, and widespread use of such plants in the British Isles as well as in other areas of Western France and the Iberian Peninsula. This indicates a spread of the innovation over the sea. "Its spread highlights the connection of those entities to the sea and to the dissemination of the burial traditions on the sea", writes Schulz Paulsson.

The complex of Stonehenge – probably the world's most famous megalithic structure is significantly younger age. The early phase began about 5000 years ago, the concise nature of the megalithic structures are a maximum of 4500 years old. In a spreading wave of such systems were then about 5,500 years ago, for the first time in the Netherlands, Northern Germany, Denmark and southern Sweden. Here, too, the sea route was decisive, writes Schulz Paulsson. "The older archaeologists generation was right about the Maritime spread of the megalith concept," says the author. "But she was wrong, what concerns the region of origin and the distribution direction." The study show, that you have underestimated the mobility and the technical and nautical skills of the people in front of 7000 years, she says, and calls for a radical revaluation of that era.

Also in North Africa, there are megalithic structures

The Martin Bartel home of the University of Tübingen sees not the way That people already 7000 years ago on the Atlantic coast cruise, was known. The presumption as to the origin of the megalith culture in North-West France, by contrast, was "unlikely." "We had assumed that the plants in that Region are very old," said the researchers from the Institute for prehistory and early history. "The C14 have confirmed investigations now."

nevertheless, the results are subject to stresses Bartel home. Because megalithic structures there are also in North Africa such as Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco. These have been dated and in the analysis have not been taken into account.

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 17.02.2019, 17:44 PM

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