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Tombs, landscapes and settlement in the Tagus hill-country

Scarre, Chris; Oosterbeek, Luiz; French, Charles

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Chris Scarre

Luiz Oosterbeek

Charles French


P. Bueno Ramírez

E. Cerrillo Cuenca

A. Gonzalez Cordero


The role of Neolithic monuments in the establishment of farming communities has long been the focus of considerable debate. The use of megalithic slabs taken from visible rock outcrops will in many cases have provided a direct link with the local landscape. The schist orthostats of the Anta da Lajinha near Mação, for example, were derived from the pillar-like outcrops that traverse the nearby hillsides. The visual link between megalithic chamber and natural outcrop will have served to anchor the tomb within its setting. Recent excavations at Lajinha and neighbouring Cabeço dos Pendentes indicate that the megalithic structures of these tombs were not entirely hidden within a mound or cairn. A similar conclusion had already been suggested by the excavation of Anta 1 de Val da Laje, in the Zêzere valley. Thus the relationship between tomb and outcrop would have been externally visible. Palaeoenvironmental studies in the surrounding valleys suggest that this cannot have been a heavily cultivated or densely settled region and lead us to consider alternative scenarios. On the one hand, these tombs may have been built by local mobile pastoral communities, but it is also possible that this relatively rugged terrain was visited for burial by populations settled in more distant fertile zones such as the Tagus valley.


Scarre, C., Oosterbeek, L., & French, C. (2011). Tombs, landscapes and settlement in the Tagus hill-country. In P. Bueno Ramírez, E. Cerrillo Cuenca, & A. Gonzalez Cordero (Eds.), From the origins : the prehistory of the inner Tagus region (83-91). Archaeopress

Publication Date Jan 1, 2011
Deposit Date Aug 18, 2011
Publicly Available Date Jun 6, 2012
Publisher Archaeopress
Pages 83-91
Series Title British Archaeological Reports International Series
Book Title From the origins : the prehistory of the inner Tagus region.
Chapter Number 7
Publisher URL


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