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Title: Megalithism and monumentality in prehistoric North Africa. Volume 1
Authors: Muscat, Iona
Keywords: Tombs -- Africa, North
Antiquities, Prehistoric -- Africa, North
Megalithic monuments -- Africa, North
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: The megalithic tombs of the Maghreb have, for long, been the subject of scholarly debate and speculation. Along the course of time, various interpretations were put forward, not only on the tombs' origins and construction, but also on the culture of the people that built them. Nevertheless, these funerary monuments, much like the rest of African archaeology, were largely neglected at the time when great European scholars were formulating their hypotheses on megalithic structures in Europe and the Mediterranean. Thanks to the extensive work of Gabriel Camps which appeared in the early 1960s, these tombs found their place in archaeological literature along with more concrete interpretations concerning the people that allegedly built them: the Berbers. Fifty years on, however, these interpretations are leaving much to be desired and are in need of review. This dissertation revisits the data that were discovered and used by Gabriel Camps and other scholars and explores new ways in which these could be interpreted, in the light of more modern archaeological thought. One way in which this is done is by defining megalithism and monumentality in the North African context. A comparative method is adopted using the results of research on Saharan monuments. Whilst aspects of earlier theories are retained, some new interpretations are proposed, particularly in relation to the lifestyle and socio-economic context of the builders of the Maghrebian tombs. In contrast to the ideas of the earlier scholars, this study demonstrates how common traits can be identified between the data-sets of the Maghreb and the Sahara and, as a result, how the former monuments may be linked to transegalitarian communities within a pastoral, nomadic context. Furthermore, it portrays the megalithic tombs of the Maghreb as part of an indigenous and autonomous development which unfolded during Late Neolithic North Africa, thus changing the idea of Maghrebian megalithism as it has been presented to us since the 1960s.
Description: M.A.ARCHAEOLOGY
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2012
Dissertations - FacArtCA - 2012

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