We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Archaeology


Publication details for Professor Chris Scarre

Mohen, Jean-Pierre & Scarre, Chris (2002). Les Tumulus de Bougon. Complexe mégalithique du Ve au IIIe millénaire. Paris: Errance.

Author(s) from Durham


This volume is an account of the Bougon cemetery of Neolithic chambered tombs in western France, focusing in particular on the excavations carried out by Mohen and Scarre in the 1970s and 1980s. The Neolithic monuments, both by their size and clustering (six mounds with eight funerary chambers), indicate that this was a place of special significance. An account of earlier investigations (Chapter 2) is followed by a description of the recent fieldwork (Chapter 3) and the artefactual material recovered (Chapter 4). Excavation revealed that the mounds were relatively well preserved with considerable variability in original form.
Their structural complexity was greatly increased by later modifications, enlargements and repairs.

Twenty radiocarbon dates (Chapter 5) revealed that the oldest interments (in chamber F0) date to the very beginning of the 5th millennium BC. That would make this monument appreciably older than others of its type, and raises the issue of the origins and antiquity of the passage grave tradition in western France.

Analysis of the 23,000 human bone fragments recovered during the excavations (Chapter 6) indicates diverse and changing funerary practices including an early phase during the 5th millennium BC in which the manipulation of bones played an important role; larger scale interments during the 4th millennium BC; and single and double inhumations.

Chapter 7 discusses the cemetery within its territory, using the geological origin of the slabs together with visibility analysis to define a landscape in which outlying Neolithic monuments could be considered satellites to the central necropolis. Chapter 8 describes the results of experimental work, and a discussion (Chapter 9) situates the Bougon cemetery within the context of the Atlantic megalithic tradition as a whole, drawing comparisons with other megalithic complexes in France(Carnac), Ireland (Boyne Valley) and Scandinavia (Sarup).