Programmes > Par auteur > Burlot Aurélien

Allées Couvertes and Wedge Tombs: is there a French connection for a renewed Irish megalithic tradition?
Aurélien Burlot  1@  
1 : Dept. of Archaeology, University College Cork [Cork]  (UCC)  -  Site web
Coláiste Na Hollscoile, Bóthar an Choláiste, Cork -  Irlande

This paper discusses potential links between north-west France and Ireland from c. 2500 BC, with an Irish reinvention of megalithic tradition, namely the wedge tombs, after some five centuries when this custom had ceased on the island. Such renewal is part of major cultural and material changes in Ireland from the mid-3rd millennium BC, which also witnessed the introduction of metallurgy closely associated with the appearance of the Bell Beaker Set. Past researchers have suggested that wedge tombs were influenced by Late Neolithic gallery graves of type allée couverte from Armorica, the former being potentially constructed by Breton copper prospectors. Both types of monuments do indeed share architectural similarities, which suggest common influences, but are not contemporary. Beaker material in allées couvertes represents secondary deposits, while it is primary in wedge tombs, and this appears to be the link in regards to the Irish megalithic renewal. Beaker-associated material is not represented in a similar way in both types of monument, as metalwork of this tradition is absent from wedge tombs. In addition to variations of depositional factors, wedge tombs have particular architectural features, such as wider and taller entrance than the end of the chamber, but also their general orientation (i.e. west-facing entrance), that appear to be exclusive insular developments. In this paper, comparisons of both types of monument are discussed in regards to past megalithic traditions, chronology, architecture and funerary depositions. The aim is to determine if indeed continental migrants were responsible for this renewal, or if this was an Irish development influenced by external traditions during a period of considerable changes in Ireland. 

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