Megaliths and Monuments study tour


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An illustrated introduction to Archaeological Tours' Megaliths and Monuments study tour for May 2016. The tour visits four Paleolithic occupation sites, two dozen Neolithic megalith sites and several historical monuments including Mont-Saint-Michel. Lodgings are taken in Paris, Carnac, Quimper, Morlaix, Saint-Malo, Salisbury and London Heathrow.

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Megaliths and Monuments study tour

  1. 1. An Archaeological Study Tour Megaliths & Monuments Stonehenge Introducing ‘Megaliths’ 2016 Roy Larick, PhD, Lecturer May 4-18, 2016 15 Days with a sampling of tour sites and topics Brittany, France & Wiltshire, England 212-986-3054 886-740-5130
  2. 2. Morbihan Finistère Ille-et-Vilaine Wiltshire Brittany Megaliths & Monuments 2016 The Neolithic of Brittany & Wiltshire Brittany sets the stage for the story of megalithism in both areas… Introducing ‘Megaliths’
  3. 3. Côtes d’Armor, Finistère That which characterizes megalithic Brittany can also be found in the nature and culture of the current place. Brittany is/was: Granit-built
  4. 4. Plougrescant , Finistère Isolated / Insular
  5. 5. Phare de la Jument, Finistère Raw
  6. 6. Festival de Cornouaille Unique
  7. 7. Alignment de Carnac, Morbihan Megalith-rich
  8. 8. Likewise, elements of the megalithic past can be found in current Wiltshire. But they are very different from Brittany. Wiltshire is/was: Chalk ecology
  9. 9. Rare in hard rock (raw material for megaliths) Lockeridge sarsen boulder stream
  10. 10. Dense but dispersed places Lockeridge Bratton
  11. 11. Place-marked Alton-Barns white horse
  12. 12. Megalith-rare (but oh, what megaliths) Stonehenge
  13. 13. Deux têtes de Bretonnes, Finistère How to tell the human story of megalithism?
  14. 14. 150 Ma 60 Ma 20 Ma 150 Ma (million years ago, Iberia was an island mini- continent lying between Africa and Eurasia. Africa was pushing northeast. Iberia was forced to collide with Europe. The Biscay rift became a major feature. Unique Neolithic settings arose on either side of the rift. We explore megalithic development on the north limb’s Brittany and Wiltshire. Biscay rift We begin with the …
  15. 15. At the north limb sites … … we feel the presence of the Iberian limb, where Neolithic northerners got exotic resources.
  16. 16. The positions of major tectonic fault signal lines of flow from east to west. Human pathways led to the peninsulas, but not between them.
  17. 17. In Wiltshire, megalithism developed on young chalk (green and yellow). In Brittany, megalithism grew on the hardest old granite (bright red).
  18. 18. Glacial cold confined Eurasia’s first permanent hominin, Homo heidelbergensis, to southern areas. The first archaeological sites of Brittany and Cheshire (just east of Wiltshire), date to about 500 ka. H. heidelbergensis moved northward with game animals. Proboscidians are good indicators of hominin movements.
  19. 19. On the Finistère coast, Ménez Drégan is a spectacular H. heidelbergensis site in a wave cut rock shelter. Occupation levels date to 465 ka.Centre d'interprétation de Menez-Dregan
  20. 20. Later, Neanderthals and Cro- Magnons found Brittany and Wiltshire to be nearly inhospitable. Brittany’s rare deep caves have only post-glacial (c. 11 ka) forager archaeology. Roc’h Toul, Finistère
  21. 21. With climate change, Neolithic farmers found peninsular Europe Analyses of current and prehistoric DNA give amazing insights into human movements. Strong hypotheses can now be made for the arrival of the original farmers and, later, for Indo-European speakers. Brittany and Wiltshire lie at the far end of Neolithic dispersals. As the farming tide arrived in these cul-de-sacs, unique innovations arose. Each place thus has singular megalithic expressions. Evan Galloway Nature 17 February 2015
  22. 22. Paleolithic people lived by foraging wild animals and plants. Groups were small and mobile. 12 ka, foragers numbered 6 million 11 ka, population grew with farming 2 ka, farmers numbered 250 million By 1800 AD, foraging was almost extinct As farming moved into Europe, groups became larger and sedentary. Farming’s effect on society Ian Morris: To each age its inequality. New York Times, July 9, 2015 Farming produced complicated divisions of labor. In current terms, economic inequality surged. Powerful families showed status through burial. Farmers flourished at the expense of foragers. Téviec Quiberon Peninsula, Morbihan Mesolithic midden and cemetery
  23. 23. Exotic materials / valued items Farmers brought new ways for making and ornamenting material culture. Valued items signified wealth and distinction for the owner. Some were hoarded to be used in relations between the elites or with supernatural powers. Valued items often featured exotic raw materials, some traveling hundreds of kilometers from quarry to workshop. Likewise, finished pieces, including necklaces, daggers, axes, bracelets, could circulate for long distances and times. Iberian sources for exotic stones in Morbihan Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies Querré (2009)
  24. 24. Megalithic tombs were often decorated. The sculptural component, resistant to weathering, is well known. There are but traces of painting. Sculptural motifs were abstract representations of more concrete beings, items or ideas. Megalithic art Laniscar mother-goddess menhir The Gavrinis passage grave has 23 sculpted uprights, these two with serpentine designs.
  25. 25. Kermario Le Menec Carnac alignment, Morbhian 4 km Kerlescan Hotel Le Diana: our home for three nights. Early Neolithic peoples erected massive standing stones and alignments. They built large cairns with impressive passage graves.
  26. 26. On the northern flank of the Monts d’Aree, Morgau-Bihan fronts a vast wilderness. Several uprights have engraved dagger motifs. Another has pairs of bas-relief hemispheres –breasts of the funereal goddess? By the Late Neolithic, the alignments gave way to isolated gallery graves surmounted by small earthen mounds.
  27. 27. ‘Megaliths’ has special access to Stonehenge, outside normal operating hours. Near Avebury, Lockeridge, was the source for the massive sarsens of Avebruy and Stonehenge. In Wiltshire, megalithism arrived from the far north, not from earlier Brittany. In all southern Britain, there are just two complex megalithic ritual landscapes: Stonehenge Avebury Stonehenge Durrington Walls Woodhenge Winterbourne Stoke The Henge Silbury Hill W Kennet Long Barrow Sanctuary deep pits discovered in 2014
  28. 28. Guimiliau parish close With the close of the Neolithic, our human story jumps to the Saxon invasion of Britain during the 2nd century AD. The Celtic population of Cornwall suffered greatly. As many fled across the Channel, Brittany’s Celtic ways were revitalized. Finistère’s unique parish closes of the 15th century derive from this movement.
  29. 29. Mont-Saint-Michel tidal island The Mont-Saint-Michel monastery is a rather late affair, rising after 708. We deign to visit nevertheless. ‘Tomb Hill’ (the pre-Christian name) was in use well before the monks arrived. During the Neolithic, the place was a granite stronghold on a much larger coastal plain. With sea level rise, Tomb Hill became a tidal island. With the car causeway now removed, the hill is once again a tidal island.
  30. 30. Salisbury Cathedral And, in our own crossing of the Channel, Wiltshire delivers a wonderful world of its own.
  31. 31. For the lecturer, Pors Carn is a favorite Brittany place. The museum has a spectacular setting and a wonderful collection. Pointe de la Torche
  32. 32. An Archaeological Study Tour Megaliths & Monuments Stonehenge Roy Larick, Lecturer May 4-18, 2016 15 Days Brittany, France & Wiltshire, England Join me on ‘Megaliths’ 2016 212-986-3054 886-740-5130
  33. 33. Roy Larick Walk back in time Look to the Future Euclid bluestone outcrop Doan Brook, Cleveland OH Bluestone Heights © 2015 Bluestone HeightsR. Larick