Beyond Newark: prehistoric ceremonial centres and their cosmologies

Authors: Darvill, T.

Editors: Jones, L. and Shiels, R.D.

Pages: 129-150

Publisher: University of Virginia Press

Place of Publication: Charlottesville

ISBN: 978-0-8139-3777-9

In many parts of the world massive ceremonial centres appear at key stages in societal development, especially with the emergence of stable agricultural communities and the appearance of hierarchical or chiefdom societies. All differ in their detail, but they also share many characteristics. These include fixing key astronomical events in the structure of the monuments (solar and/or lunar); seasonal gatherings; associations with water; representations of ancestors or ancestral deities; burials; links to well-being and fecundity; and the use of a circle enclosing a square as a fundamental symbolic scheme. Drawing on examples in Britain, central Europe, and China, comparisons and contrasts will be made, and the overarching cosmologies and belief systems examined.

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