A. N Shepherd, ed., (1993). Altering the Earth: The Origins of Monuments in Britain and Continental Europe. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. https://doi.org/10.5284/1000184.

Title
Title
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Title:
Altering the Earth: The Origins of Monuments in Britain and Continental Europe
Series
Series
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Series:
Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph Series
Volume
Volume
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Volume:
08
Pages
Pages
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Number of Pages:
150
Downloads
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Downloads:
Mono8.pdf (15 MB) : Download
DOI
DOI
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DOI
https://doi.org/10.5284/1000184
Publication Type
Publication Type
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Publication Type:
Monograph Chapter (in Series)
Author
Author
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Author:
Richard Bradley
Editor
Editor
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Editor:
Alexandra N Shepherd
Publisher
Publisher
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Publisher:
Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Year of Publication
Year of Publication
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Year of Publication:
1993
ISBN
ISBN
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ISBN:
0903903083
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ADS Archive
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Created Date
Created Date
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Created Date:
10 Nov 2017
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Abstract
1 - 21
Monuments are not found universally and are rare among European hunter-gatherers. Using the example of megalithic tombs, the first lecture considers the origins of monuments and the ways in which they contributed to a new sense of time and place. There seems no reason to suppose that monument building was linked directly to the adoption of agriculture, and in certain areas the use of monumental structures may actually have helped to create the conditions for economic change. The argument is illustrated by megalithic tombs in Portugal, France and Scandinavia, and by the archaeology of Australia and the eastern United States.
22 - 44
Many monuments were constructed in places that had already acquired a special significance. This lecture considers the ways in which some of these locations gained an additional importance and shows how that process was related to the development of monuments. The argument is illustrated by the changing history of cave deposits all of which seem to epitomise a rather similar perception of the landscape. Some of these places developed into monuments themselves. Alternatively, relics of their original use could be transferred to new locations where they played a part in the creation of other monuments.
45 - 68
Once they had been built, how did monuments work? This lecture considers the ways in which the creation and operation of large monuments affect human perception. Monuments are the outward embodiment of some of the most basic beliefs in society, and they tend to mould the experience of those who use them. They constrain the movements of the people who visit them, and provide a kind of stage setting for the performance of ritual and ceremonial. In this sense they can play an active role in the process of social change. The argument is illustrated using the evidence of a variety of stone and earthwork alignments from the West Mediterranean to the British Isles. The manner in which the distinctions between monuments and the wider landscape were emphasised by decorative styles and by deposits of artefacts is also considered.
69 - 90
Monuments are not only places in which human experience was moulded in special ways. They are also the embodiment of ideas about the world. As such they can be adapted and changed from one period or area to another. This lecture considers how the stereotyped lay-out of Neolithic enclsoures was adopted and modified by communities in a variety of cultural settings, from Central Europe to Scandinavia and Western France. The changing history of this type of earthwork epitomises the way in which a particular form of monument can stand for a wider view of human experience.
91 - 112
The previous lecture showed how monuments and the ideas associated with them could be changed from one area to another. The same process of interpretation can also take place within the local sequence. Using the evidence from Britain and France, this lecture explores the ways in which monuments were adapted and renewed in relation to changing social circumstances. In particular, it focuses on the phenomenon of 'monument complexes' and studies the distinctive manner in which they developed. It considers the recent suggestion that some of these were pilgrimage centres, contending that the use and operation of particular monuments within these complexes was one way in which political relations were played out.
113 - 129
By their very nature monuments survive over long periods of time. The process of interpretation described in the previous lecture did not end during the prehistoric period; it still concerns us today. The final lecture considers how certain monuments were reinterpreted in the early Medieval period when particular examples, ranging in date from Neolithic to Roman times were brought back into use as high status sites. This process can be compared with the invention of traditions and in certain cases served to legitimise the position of new elites. Even the selection of sites for renewal shows a certain patterning, and this may shed light on the origin myths of different groups in the post-Roman world. The argument is illustrated by 'royal sites' in the British Isles.
The text of the 1991--92 Rhind Lectures. The first, `Monuments and the natural world', considers the origin of monuments and how they contributed to a new sense of time and place, using the example of megalithic tombs; there seems no reason to suppose that monument building was linked directly to the adoption of agriculture and in certain areas the use of monumental structures may actually have helped to create the conditions for economic change. `Places and human culture' considers how locations where monuments were constructed, which may already have acquired special significance, gained additional importance, and relates this process to the development of monuments using cave deposits, menhirs and rock art. In `Monuments as places' the ways the creation and operation of large monuments affect human perception are considered, using the evidence of stone and earthwork alignments from the west Mediterranean to the British Isles. `Adoption and modification of the stereotyped layout of Neolithic enclosures' by different communities from central Europe to Scandinavia and western France is examined in `Monuments as ideas'. `The logic of monument building' explores ways monument complexes in particular were adapted and renewed in relation to changing social circumstances. The final lecture, `The afterlife of monuments', considers how certain monuments were reinterpreted in the early medieval period, when earlier examples were reused as high status royal sites in the British Isles.