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One idea suggested that this cultural change came from the Near East, and spread west along coastal routes, perhaps by a priestly caste.

The Megalithic Architectures of Europe

Later theories suggested techniques may have developed independently in different locales. But a scientist who analyzed 2, radiocarbon dates of megaliths and their surroundings reported on Monday that the first such tombs appeared in France, about 6, years ago, and then spread along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, as well as to England, Ireland and Scandinavia.

She combed the literature in 11 languages, assessed the validity of the dating tests, and used a statistical method called Bayesian analysis to narrow the dates further. She reported her findings in the journal PNAS , concluding that the building of megalithic graves appeared and spread along the coast of France, Spain and Portugal and the Mediterranean within a period of to years.

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Kristian Kristiansen, also at Gothenburg University but not involved in Dr. That, in itself is significant because it suggests that people of the time had boats and skill to travel along the coasts and quickly spread the megalithic method. Schulz Paulsson found that the oldest megalithic graves dated from about to B. But northwest France is the only one of these areas that showed evidence of earthen grave monuments that preceded the first megaliths, dating back to around B.

These graves, in the geological area known as the Paris basin, indicate the beginnings of monument building that are lacking in the other areas.

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The Megalithic Architectures of Europe [Hardback]

Schulz Paulsson said that the earliest standing stones in Brittany were some of the largest. An early stone called the Grand Menhir, once rose more than 20 meters high. Some of the early monuments were dolmens, tablelike structures that look like the Greek letter Pi.

The Megaliths of Northern Europe

Around B. The earliest is in Prisse-la-Charriere in central western France, constructed between and B. There were also subsequent waves of megalith construction, she said.


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One between and B. Thousands of years ago, megaliths began to appear in Europe — standing stones, dolmens, stone circles. They vary from single stones to complexes like Stonehenge. There are about 35, such monuments in Europe, many along the Atlantic coast of France and Spain, in England, Ireland, Scandinavia and throughout the Mediterranean. They attract both tourists and archaeologists, who have spent a century debating how the knowledge to build such monuments spread.


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  • One idea suggested that this cultural change came from the Near East, and spread west along coastal routes, perhaps by a priestly caste. Later theories suggested techniques may have developed independently in different locales.

    Europe’s Megalithic Monuments Originated in France and Spread by Sea Routes, New Study Suggests

    But a scientist who analyzed 2, radiocarbon dates of megaliths and their surroundings reported on Monday that the first such tombs appeared in France, about 6, years ago, and then spread along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, as well as to England, Ireland and Scandinavia. She combed the literature in 11 languages, assessed the validity of the dating tests, and used a statistical method called Bayesian analysis to narrow the dates further.

    She reported her findings in the journal PNAS , concluding that the building of megalithic graves appeared and spread along the coast of France, Spain and Portugal and the Mediterranean within a period of to years. Kristian Kristiansen, also at Gothenburg University but not involved in Dr.

    That, in itself is significant because it suggests that people of the time had boats and skill to travel along the coasts and quickly spread the megalithic method. Schulz Paulsson found that the oldest megalithic graves dated from about to B. But northwest France is the only one of these areas that showed evidence of earthen grave monuments that preceded the first megaliths, dating back to around B. These graves, in the geological area known as the Paris basin, indicate the beginnings of monument building that are lacking in the other areas.

    Schulz Paulsson said that the earliest standing stones in Brittany were some of the largest. An early stone called the Grand Menhir, once rose more than 20 meters high. Some of the early monuments were dolmens, tablelike structures that look like the Greek letter Pi.