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Title: The archaeology of collectivity
Authors: Pace, Anthony
Keywords: Archaeology -- Malta
Megalithic monuments -- Malta
Funeral rites and ceremonies -- Malta
Antiquities, Prehistoric -- Malta
Neolithic period -- Malta
Social archaeology -- Malta
Collective behaviour
Issue Date: 1997
Publisher: Malta Archaeological Society
Citation: Pace, A. (1997). The archaeology of collectivity. Malta Archaeological Review, No. 2, 14-19
Abstract: The present contribution addresses patterns in the long term development of Maltese prehistoric funerary sites during the period spanning 4000 - 2500 Be. The period in question saw the development of a series of central sites in a number of strategic locations across the Maltese archipelago. Site development followed at least three major trajectories: social/ritual, funerary and domestic. The former two categories assumed a monumental character having a primary focus on architectural design. Monumental characteristics, whether above or below ground, increased the survival chances of the more extensive and prominent sites so that these now dominate the archaeological repertoire of the period. By comparison the third category of settlements, domestic remains tend to be less conspicuous. Following previous research (Pace 1992), the present study tentatively suggests that as one of the principal trajectories in monument development, the evolution of Maltese Late Neolithic funerary sites followed a single long term cognitive process that brought cultural collectivity into sharp focus. Cognitive design processes were critical for the survival, elaboration, extension and social reproduction of collective belief systems which, in the case of funerary rituals, were expressed in the deliberate structural expansion and elaboration of central cemeteries. As an important cultural phenomenon, cognitive design processes embodying notions of the collective would have encompassed several features, traces of which may still be evident in the archaeological record and ancient prehistoric landscape. A selection of these features will be examined in a contextual framework built around evidence of chronological stages in the development of funerary sites, and the close ties relating these developments to site location patterning of megalithic 'temple' structures.
Appears in Collections:MAR, Issue 02 (1997)
MAR, Issue 02 (1997)

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