Megalithic Tombs in Western Iberia: Excavations at the Anta da Lajinha [Hardback]

Chris Scarre (Editor); Luiz Oosterbeek (Editor)

ISBN: 9781785709807 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2019 | Language: English 256p, H280 x W216 (mm) b/w

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Megalithic Tombs in Western Iberia


Western Iberia has one of the richest inventories of Neolithic chambered tombs in Atlantic Europe, with particular concentrations in Galicia, northern Portugal and the Alentejo. Less well known is the major concentration of tombs along the Tagus valley, straddling the Portuguese-Spanish frontier. Within this cluster is the Anta da Lajinha, a small megalithic tomb in the hill-country north of the River Tagus. Badly damaged by forest fire and stone removal, it was the subject of joint British-Portuguese excavations in 2006-2008, accompanied by environmental investigations and OSL dating. This volume takes the recent excavations at Lajinha and the adjacent site of Cabeço dos Pendentes as the starting point for a broader consideration of the megalithic tombs of western Iberia. Key themes addressed are relevant to megalithic tombs more generally, including landscape, chronology, settlement and interregional relationships. Over what period of time were these tombs built and used? Do they form a horizon of intensive monument construction, or were the tombs the product of a persistent, long-lived tradition? How do they relate to the famous rock art of the Tagus valley, and to the cave burials and open-air settlements of the region, in terms of chronology and landscape? A final section considers the Iberian tombs within the broader family of west European megalithic monuments, focusing on chronologies, parallels and patterns of contact. Did the Iberian tombs emerge through connections with older established megalithic traditions in other regions such as Brittany, or whether they are the outcome of more general processes operating among Atlantic Neolithic societies?

Table of Contents

List of figures
List of tables
1. The megalithic chambered tombs of western Iberia Chris Scarre
2. Excavations at the Anta da Lajinha 2006–2008 Chris Scarre and Luiz Oosterbeek
Appendix 2.A: Petrological identification of the slabs used at the Anta da Lajinha Vera Moleiro, Sara Cura, Artur A. Sá and Luiz Oosterbeek
Appendix 2.B: Luminescence dating at the Anta da Lajinha Chris Burbidge, Guilherme Cardoso, Isabel Dias, Luiz Oosterbeek, Isabel Prudêncio and Chris Scarre
Appendix 2.C: Stratigraphic characterisation and sedimentological analysis at the Anta da Lajinha Pedro P. Cunha, Hugo Gomes, Luiz Oosterbeek and Pierluigi Rosina
Appendix 2.D: The ceramic assemblage from the Anta da Lajinha César Neves
Appendix 2.E: The lithic assemblage from the Anta da Lajinha Joana Carrondo
3. The regional context Chris Scarre and Elías López-Romero
3.1. The megalithic tombs of Proença-a-Nova João Caninas, Francisco Henriques, Mário Monteiro, Paulo Félix, Carlos Neto de Carvalho, Fernando Robles Henriques, Emanuel Carvalho, Pedro Baptista, André Pereira and Cátia Mendes
3.2. Contemporary non-megalithic interments Nelson J. Almeida, Luís Costa and Luiz Oosterbeek
3.3. Later prehistoric funerary practices in the Nabão valley: the Rego da Murta Megalithic Complex Alexandra Figueiredo
4. Palaeoenvironmental investigations around the Anta da Lajinha and the broader regional context Charles French, William Fletcher, Marco Madella, Cristiana Ferreira, Nelson J. Almeida, Pierluigi Rosina and Chris Scarre
Appendix 4.1: The trench profile descriptions
Appendix 4.2: The detailed soil micromorphological descriptions
Appendix 4.3: Calibration curves for the Anta da Lajinha West Trench radiocarbon dates
5. The Tagus Valley Rock Art Sara Garcês and Luiz Oosterbeek
6. Megalithic tombs in Atlantic Iberia Chris Scarre
7. The Anta da Lajinha in its international context Chris Scarre

Reviews & Quotes

"This is a meaty volume […] an important source of both evidence and synthesis of the megalithic monuments of western Iberia in their local, regional and international contexts."
Bob Chapman
Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society (01/05/2020)

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