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Durham University

Department of Archaeology


Publication details for Professor Chris Scarre

Scarre, Chris (2002). Contexts of monumentalism: regional diversity at the Neolithic transition in north-west France. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 21(1): 23-61.

Author(s) from Durham


The origins of funerary monumentalism in north-west France remain inextricably linked to questions surrounding the Neolithic transition in that region. Debate continues over the relative importance of influences from earlier Neolithic communities in north-east or southern France on the Mesolithic communities of western France. An alternative interpretation places these influences within the context of broad processes of change affecting indigenous communities throughout northern and western France during the fifth millennium BC. The evidence from several regions of northern and western France is reviewed in this perspective, with emphasis on the regional character of monument traditions. Though at one level these regional narratives must have been interrelated, the regional diversity of the process must also be underlined. The argument moves us away from simplistic notions of extraneous influences to a more nuanced understanding of change within the context of individual communities at the Mesolithic/Neolithic transition.