Life and death of Angoumoisin-type dolmens in west-central France: Architecture and evidence of the reuse of megalithic orthostats

Abstract : During the 5th millennium Angoumois-type dolmens — tombs comprising a passage and a quadrangular chamber characterized by high-quality stone working — appeared in west-central France. During a recent collective research and evaluation program (2012 – 2015), excavations, multi-method prospecting, and technological and architectural analyses have yielded new data. Megalithic monuments are part of a landscape that has been profoundly transformed by people, and are reflections of a desire to erect social and territorial markers. Geophysical prospecting undertaken for the first time on and around these monuments has revealed original features that contribute to the monumentalization of the landscape in the same way as the fortifications associated with the world of the living. The excavations of the Petite Pérotte and Motte de la Jacquille (Fontenille, Charente) dolmens have enabled us to define both petrographical type and geographical origin of the monoliths as well as to bring to light the architectural choices made by the builders. The builders clearly focused on the monoliths of the funerary chamber, as exemplified by the construction of the stone door of Motte de la Jacquille, a unique example in European megalithism. This work goes beyond mere aesthetic preoccupations, and demonstrates a genuine investment of symbolism in megalithic construction. One of the most significant advances relates to the discovery of numerous examples of old structural stones in the construction of the Motte de la Jacquille funerary chamber. These point to the recycling of a previously existing funerary chamber, specifically deconstructed for this later occasion. Several scenarios are discussed to explore the possible motivations underlying such reuse.
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Submitted on : Monday, January 23, 2017 - 12:48:13 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-01443702, version 1

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Vincent Ard, Emmanuel Mens, Didier Poncet, Florian Cousseau, Jérôme Defaix, et al.. Life and death of Angoumoisin-type dolmens in west-central France: Architecture and evidence of the reuse of megalithic orthostats. Bulletin de la Société Préhistorique Française, Société Préhistorique Française, 2016, 113 (4), pp.737-764. ⟨hal-01443702⟩

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