Les murs de l’Atlantique : aux origines du phénomène mégalithique dans l’Ouest de la France

Abstract : The monumental nature of Neolithic funerary rites is analysed by archaeologists in relation to its alleged links with the management of land by agro-pastoral communities. This article examines the social dynamics in the Neolithic of Western France, with a particular focus on how human populations mastered oceanic geographical and environmental characteristics. Numerous excavations during the last fifteen years have significantly transformed the chronology. The evolution of the Mesolithic has been completely renewed and there is now a lack of reliable data between 5300 and 5000 BC (Mesolithic / Neolithic transition). Obviously dependent on a pioneer movement, the Late Bandkeramik of the Paris Basin and Villeneuve-Saint-Germain are well documented in villages that now cover the whole Breton peninsula up to the Loire river. Its early dates when compared to the Parisian Basin model could be due to bias within the calibration curve. South of the Loire, our knowledge of the Early Neolithic in the Centre-Atlantic region, which is Mediterranean in origin, remains embryonic and centred on the chronological interval 4700-4500 BC. The analysis of social organization shows a clear difference between the Mesolithic and the Neolithic; it also applies to the technical traditions that are subject to an abrupt break. The issue of transmission of arrowhead technology between the Mesolithic and the Neolithic is no longer relevant, because of the revision of the chronology. Two technical domains are likely to have been inherited from the indigenous coastal communities: fisheries and navigation. Their degree of respective control may have conditioned the socioeconomic foundations of the first agro-pastoral societies in Western France. The successive steps of the transmission of knowledge during the Atlantic Neolithic are discussed. It points to asset control and power in a few hands, which is best ‘embodied’ in the central tomb of the Tumulus Saint-Michel, dated around 4700- 4600 BC. We do not know the economic foundations that ensure the sustainability of this social structure; their maritime dimension should not be overlooked.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 4:41:10 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 18, 2019 - 3:32:03 PM

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  • HAL Id : hal-01944499, version 1

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Grégor Marchand. Les murs de l’Atlantique : aux origines du phénomène mégalithique dans l’Ouest de la France. Laurence Manolakakis, Nathan Schlanger, Anick Coudart (eds). European Archaeology -Identities & Migrations. Hommages à Jean-Paul Demoule, Published by Sidestone Press, pp.387-408, 2017, 978-90-8890-520-9. ⟨www.sidestone.com⟩. ⟨hal-01944499⟩

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