Living and Past Megalithisms: interwoven approaches edited by Christian Jeunesse, Pierre Le Roux and Bruno Boulestin. x+294 pages; illustrated throughout with 63 colour plates. Papers in French and English. 231 2016. Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781784913458. Epublication ISBN 9781784913465. |
Megalithic monuments from Neolithic Europe have long been considered as rough copies of the monumental architectures built by the first civilizations of the Near East and Eastern Mediterranean. When radiocarbon dating jeopardized this diffusionist pattern, though, specialists could not but wonder why and how these Neolithic societies, usually considered as small ‘village communities’, had erected such monuments. In order to answer these questions and seek explanations in the social, political or religious contexts of recent or present megalith-building societies, the ethnological frame of references has been referred to on a regular basis.
This volume comprises the papers presented by prehistorians and ethnologists at the two multi-disciplinary round tables held in Strasburg in May 2014 and May 2015. Their purpose was, with the help of both case studies and more synthetic works, to discuss how the patterns drawn from the observation of ‘living’ megalithic societies have been used to try and shed light on the functioning of European Neolithic societies, the epistemological problems raised by this transposition and the relevance of ethnology-based archeological explanations. The book is composed of three sections: the first one deals with some methodological reflections, the second and third ones with the ‘living’ or recent megalithisms of respectively the Indonesian Archipelago and Ethiopia.
About the Editors:
Christian Jeunesse is professor of prehistoric archaeology at the Université de Strasbourg and member of the unit “Archimède” (UMR 7044, CNRS) and of the Institut Universitaire de France. He is the author of numerous works about the European Neolithic. His main topics are the history of the danubian Neolithic, the funeral rites and the social organization of neolithic and chalcolithic societies
Bruno Boulestin is an anthropologist at the University of Bordeaux, France, member of the “Anthropologie des populations passées et présentes” (A3P) team of the unit “De la Préhistoire à l’Actuel, Culture, Environnement, Anthropologie” (PACEA, UMR 5199 of the CNRS). He is working on the diachronic study of practices around death in ancient societies from both archaeological, bioarchaeological and socio-anthropological data and is specialized in the study of bone modifications and corpse treatments.
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