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Durham Research Online
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Stones with character : animism, agency and megalithic monuments.

Scarre, Chris (2009) 'Stones with character : animism, agency and megalithic monuments.', in Materialitas: working stone, carving identity. Oxford: Oxbow Books, pp. 9-18.

Abstract

Recent studies of megalithic monuments have shown how they incorporate blocks, sometimes taken from different locations, which link the monuments to features of their local landscapes. The slabs were often left unworked, or only minimally shaped, which would have helped preserved the visual resemblance of the stones to the outcrops or boulder fields from which they were derived. The careful selection of megalithic blocks suggests that they incorporated and materialised memories, powers and associations of place. The recycling of carved and shaped standing stones in the passage graves of Brittany illustrates another approach to the materiality of the slabs, one which draws upon anthropomorphic symbolism. Some later monuments too have carved motifs, and those motifs may imply they were thought to embody ‘human’ qualities. An ‘animistic’ or ‘anthropomorphic’ reading of these blocks may provide additional insights into the social practices and beliefs which lay behind the construction of megalithic monuments.

Item Type:Book chapter
Full text:PDF - Accepted Version (176Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://www.oxbowbooks.com/bookinfo.cfm/ID/86804
Record Created:15 May 2012 10:35
Last Modified:07 Jun 2012 15:26

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