Publication details for Professor Chris ScarreScarre, Chris (2015). Accident or design? Chambers, cairns and funerary practices in Neolithic western Europe. In The Megalithic Architectures of Europe. Laporte, Luc & Scarre, Chris Oxford: Oxbow Books. 69-78.
- Publication type: Chapter in book
- ISSN/ISBN: 9781785700149
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
The classic image of the Neolithic chambered tomb is of a stone-built – often megalithic – burial chamber covered by a mound or cairn. Many such chambers appear today in a denuded condition, usually as a consequence of natural or human destruction. Controversy has raged since the 19th century as to whether some megalithic chambers may never have had a covering mound, and evidence from sites from Scandinavia to Spain indicates that this may occasionally have been the case. Even where remains of a mound or cairn are present, however, the chamber was often the first structure to have been built, and would for a period have been free standing. At some sites, the deposition of human bodies began at this stage. It is not impossible that the addition of a covering mound was in some cases an act of closure, marking the cessation of burial activity.