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Durham University

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Scarre, Chris (2010). Rocks of ages: tempo and time in megalithic monuments. European Journal of Archaeology 13(2): 175-193.

Author(s) from Durham


Chronology remains a problematic area in prehistoric archaeology but the increasing number and precision of radiometric dates begin to suggest patterns that can be resolved down to the scale of individual lifetimes. The study of megalithic monuments has benefited from these developments but remains hampered by the indirect relationship between the materials that are dated and the structures themselves. Drawing on evidence from France, Scandinavia, and Iberia, it is nonetheless arguable that available patterns of dates suggest an event-like tempo to the construction of megalithic monuments, with large numbers being built within relatively short periods of time. This has implications for typological models and for the social context in which such monuments were designed and built.