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English pages Megaliths: General information
General info > Appearance - Age - Function - Civilization - Funnel Beaker

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Megalithic civilization

The impulse for the megalithic civilization came probably after the glacier icecaps melted, when Europe became warmer.


No uniform unity

Research showed that we might not see megalithic civilization as a uniform unity. Probably there where several cultures whit some common elements. Possible they had a common religion that bounded different groups.
One of the cultures of megalithic civilization was the Funnel Beaker Culture (see next page).
Like most civilizations the megalithic civilization also knew an evolution. New techniques came in use, architecture developed step by step.


Oldest monuments

The oldest standing stones where probably erected before agriculture came to Europe (Mesolithic)
The first farmers have build the first passage tombs. The oldest megalithic sites are situated in Bretagne (France), Ireland and South-England. 

The big monuments, like Newgrange (Ireland) and Silbury Hill (G.B.)l, where built a few centuries later. These monuments reveal a high level of organization and cooperation.


Megalith builders

Few traces where found of megalith builders and their way of life. Probably they lived in wooden houses or huts

Reconstruction Neolithic farm
Reconstruction Neolithic farm
Hunebedcenter - Borger, Drenthe

It is remarkable no traces of housing where found near the artificial "Silbury Hill" near Avebury (G.B.). Although many people should have been involved by the construction of giant project.

Silbury Hill, England
Silbury Hill, England

Silbury Hill, the biggest artificial prehistoric hill in Europe is about 40-metres high, whit a diameter about 180-metres. The hill, raised between 2400 B.C. and 2000 B.C., didn't showed its secrets yet, the purpose of this amazing construction remains a mystery...

Recent excavations in and round the "Durrington Walls" near Stonehenge uncovered the fundaments of stone buildings!


'Megalithic' houses

In Skara Brea, on Orkney (G.B.), are the well-preserved remains of the oldest European stone houses (+- 3200 B.C.). These houses have beds and 'dressers' made in stone; wood was rare on the Orkney Isles. These stone furniture shows that the wooden houses in the rest of Britain probably also had furniture, but made in wood.

Skara Brea - Orkney
Skara Brea - Orkney

Kitchen equipment included pottery, wooden tools and reed wickerwork. Also bones where used.


Megalith builder's tools

Remarkably this civilization had no hard metal tools. They used stone tools to shape megaliths and for other work. They knew how to use their 'primitive' tools to shape and decorate the hardest stones (granite).

The necessary tools where mined in flint mines, the first 'industry'. They where traded over great distances.

Binnenin de Dolmen des Pierres Plates
 Dolmen des Pierres Plates
Locmariaquer, Bretagne

No written language

Most probably megalith builders had no written language, no traces where found jet. Their complex knowledge about astronomy and architecture must have been educated oral.
The symbolic designs carved in many stones, probably where use to teach complex ideas.


Maritime shipping in the Neolithic time

Megaliths existing on many isles prove megalith builders also where good seaman not afraid of dangerous seas. Their astronomical knowledge must have been very useful for navigating.


Megalith builder's thesis

The remarkable and unique construction at Stonehenge can be seen as the megalith builder's 'thesis'. Possible they had some help from new emigrants, people who brought the 'Beaker Culture' and new other visions... 

Stonehenge - England
Stonehenge (G.B.)



It can be interesting to compare the "Megalithic Civilization", witch existed about 2500 year, with our Western Civilization. We can pose Western Civilization began about 2500 year ago in Greece; where new political systems came into existence and philosophy flourished; this give about the same length in time as the megalithic period. 

Those who are informed about our history can imagine a vision of the 2500 years existence of Western Civilization. Plato and old Athena are very far in time for us, since that time lots of things happened and changed...

2500 years of civilisation compared

When we look at the Megalithic Civilization we have to imagine it also existed during more than 2500 years.
For the people ho constructed the last faze of Stonehenge the erecting of the first stone rows in Carnac (France) where as far in the past as Plato is for us... 

"The" Western Civilization has knew different cultures and different periods. Also "Megalithic Civilizations" knew different cultures, like the Funnel Beaker Culture. Many indications where found Megalithic Civilization also saw changing in religious systems. Though our vision on the Megalithic Civilizations is incomplete, future archaeological investigations will bring more information and date, our ideas shall change in time 
Megalith builders' story is far from complete...


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Page published November 21, 2015

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