Peter N. Peregrine
Peter N. Peregrine is an American anthropologist, registered professional archaeologist, academic, he is well known for his staunch defense of science in anthropology, for his popular textbook Anthropology. Peregrine did dissertation research on the evolution of the Mississippian culture of North America, did fieldwork on Bronze Age cities in Syria, he is Professor of Anthropology and Museum Studies at Lawrence University and Research Associate of the Human Relations Area Files at Yale University. From 2012 to 2018 he was an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. Peregrine developed a comprehensive data set and methodology for conducting diachronic cross-cultural research; this work produced the Atlas of Cultural Evolution and the Encyclopedia of Prehistory, formed the organizational structure for the Human Relations Area Files eHRAF Archaeology. Peregrine has conducted archaeological fieldwork in North America and South America. Much of his fieldwork has involved the use of geophysical techniques to identify buried archaeological deposits.
In 2009 Peregrine started the Lawrence University Archaeological Survey, which focuses on using geophysical techniques to locate unmarked graves in early Wisconsin cemeteries. In 2011 Peregrine was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Peregrine has published extensively on the Mississippian culture and on archaeological method and theory. Peregrine argued that Mississippian cultures should be seen as participants in a large system that integrated much of eastern North America in a single political economy, he employed world-systems theory to do this, arguing that large centers were cores of political and economic authority which were supported by peripheral regions though the exchange of objects used in rituals of social reproduction such as initiation and marriage. The Mississippian cores themselves competitively manufactured and traded these objects, linking them into what Peregrine called a prestige-goods system. Polities vied for power over exchange, rose and fell as their ability to control prestige-goods strengthened or waned.
The response to Peregrine’s view was mixed, with some calling it “exaggerationalist” and others adopting it into their own work. In the mid-1990s Peregrine and colleagues Richard Blanton, Gary M. Feinman, Steven Kowalewski developed “dual-processual” theory, which Peregrine applied to Mississippian polities. Dual-processual theory posits that political leaders adopt strategies for implementing power ranging along a continuum from being exclusionary to inclusive. Exclusionary strategies are. Peregrine argued. While not without controversy, dual processual theory has come to be seen as a valuable tool for understanding both Mississippian and Ancestral Puebloan polities. More Peregrine and colleague Steven Lekson have argued that the Mississippian and Ancestral Puebloan worlds should be viewed as linked together, along with Early Postclassic Mesoamerica, in a continent-wide “oikoumene”, they argue that only such a continental perspective can allow archaeologists to understand broad processes of coordinated change such as the emergence of urban-like communities in many parts of North America around 900 CE.
Again, though not without controversy, Peregrine’s drive to promote a multi-regional perspective has been seen as useful for addressing some questions in North American archaeology. In addition to archaeology Peregrine has made a number of contributions to cross-cultural studies; the focus of his work has been on developing archaeological correlates for various types of behavior, including warfare, postmarital residence, social stratification. Peregrine developed new methodologies for conducting diachronic cross-cultural research using archaeological cases. Peregrine is now using diachronic cross-cultural research to explore how ancient societies were able to build resilience to climate-related disasters, he argues that this work may help modern societies to create policies to enhance resilience to the increasing frequency of climate-related disasters caused by climate change. Peregrine lives in Appleton, Wisconsin and is married with two daughters
Pottery is the process of forming vessels and other objects with clay and other ceramic materials, which are fired to give them a hard, durable form. Major types include earthenware and porcelain; the place where such wares are made by a potter is called a pottery. The definition of pottery used by the American Society for Testing and Materials, is "all fired ceramic wares that contain clay when formed, except technical and refractory products." In archaeology of ancient and prehistoric periods, "pottery" means vessels only, figures etc. of the same material are called "terracottas". Clay as a part of the materials used is required by some definitions of pottery, but this is dubious. Pottery is one of the oldest human inventions, originating before the Neolithic period, with ceramic objects like the Gravettian culture Venus of Dolní Věstonice figurine discovered in the Czech Republic dating back to 29,000–25,000 BC, pottery vessels that were discovered in Jiangxi, which date back to 18,000 BC.
Early Neolithic pottery artefacts have been found in places such as Jōmon Japan, the Russian Far East, Sub-Saharan Africa and South America. Pottery is made by forming a ceramic body into objects of a desired shape and heating them to high temperatures in a kiln and induces reactions that lead to permanent changes including increasing the strength and solidity of the object's shape. Much pottery is purely utilitarian, but much can be regarded as ceramic art. A clay body can be decorated after firing. Clay-based pottery can divided in three main groups: earthenware and porcelain; these require more specific clay material, higher firing temperatures. All three are made for different purposes. All may be decorated by various techniques. In many examples the group a piece belongs to is visually apparent, but this is not always the case; the fritware of the Islamic world does not use clay, so technically falls outside these groups. Historic pottery of all these types is grouped as either "fine" wares expensive and well-made, following the aesthetic taste of the culture concerned, or alternatively "coarse", "popular" "folk" or "village" wares undecorated, or so, less well-made.
All the earliest forms of pottery were made from clays that were fired at low temperatures in pit-fires or in open bonfires. They were hand undecorated. Earthenware can be fired as low as 600°C, is fired below 1200°C; because unglazed biscuit earthenware is porous, it has limited utility for the storage of liquids, eating off. However, earthenware has a continuous history from the Neolithic period to today, it can be made from a wide variety of clays, some of which fire to a buff, brown or black colour, with iron in the constituent minerals resulting in a reddish-brown. Reddish coloured varieties are called terracotta when unglazed or used for sculpture; the development of ceramic glaze which makes it impermeable makes it a popular and practical form of pottery. The addition of decoration has evolved throughout its history. Stoneware is pottery, fired in a kiln at a high temperature, from about 1,100°C to 1,200°C, is stronger and non-porous to liquids; the Chinese, who developed stoneware early on, classify this together with porcelain as high-fired wares.
In contrast, stoneware could only be produced in Europe from the late Middle Ages, as European kilns were less efficient, the right sorts of clay less common. It remained a speciality of Germany until the Renaissance. Stoneware is tough and practical, much of it has always been utilitarian, for the kitchen or storage rather than the table, but "fine" stoneware has been important in China and the West, continues to be made. Many utilitarian types have come to be appreciated as art. Porcelain is made by heating materials including kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 °C; this is higher than used for the other types, achieving these temperatures was a long struggle, as well as realizing what materials were needed. The toughness and translucence of porcelain, relative to other types of pottery, arises from vitrification and the formation of the mineral mullite within the body at these high temperatures. Although porcelain was first made in China, the Chinese traditionally do not recognise it as a distinct category, grouping it with stoneware as "high-fired" ware, opposed to "low-fired" earthenware.
This confuses the issue of. A degree of translucency and whiteness was achieved by the Tang Dynasty, considerable quantities were being exported; the modern level of whiteness was not reached until much in the 14th century. Porcelain was made in Korea and in Japan from the end of the 16th century, after suitable kaolin was located in those countries, it was not made outside East Asia until the 18th century. Before being shaped, clay must be prepared. Kneading helps to ensure an moisture content throughout the body. Air trapped within the clay body needs to be removed; this is called de-airing and can be accomplished either by a machine called a vacuum pug or manually by wedging. Wedging can help produce an moisture content. Once a clay body has been kneaded and de-aired or wedged, it is shaped by a variety of techniques. After it has been shaped, it is dried and fired. Greenware refers to unfired objects. At sufficient moisture content, bodies at this stage are in their most plastic form (as they are soft and mal
Province of Almería
Almería is a province of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. It is bordered by the provinces of Granada and the Mediterranean Sea, its capital is the homonymous city of Almería. Almería has an area of 8,774 km². With 701,688 inhabitants, its population density is 79.96/km² lower than the Spanish average. It is divided in 102 municipalities; the highest mountain range in the Province of Almería is the 50 km long Sierra de Los Filabres. Europe's driest area is part of the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park; the arid landscape and climate of the province have made it an ideal setting for Western films during the 1960s. Because of the demand for these locations, quite a number of Western towns were built near the Tabernas Desert. Films such as A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad, The Ugly were shot here. Years the film of 800 Bullets was filmed in the same place. Large sections of Conan the Barbarian, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lawrence of Arabia and Patton were shot there as well.
The main river is the Andarax River, located near Granada in the Alpujarras. The Beninar Reservoir, located near Darrical, provides part of the water needed in the production in greenhouses. Interesting and unique species of animals native to the Alto Almanzora are in the process of extinction; the most important economic activity is greenhouse farming. Millions of tons of vegetables are exported to other European countries and other parts of the world each year. See Intensive farming in Almería Tourism is a key sector of the economy, due to the sunny weather and attractive areas such as Roquetas de Mar, Almerimar, Vera or Cabo de Gata; the principal industrial activity is in the Macael canteras marble quarrying area in the Sierra de los Filabres region from Macael Viejo to Chercos and Cobdar which produce in excess of 1.3 million tons. The Cantoria, Olula del Rio and Purchena area of the Alto Almanzora valley is fast becoming the regional megalopolis through high imports and exports and employment in local and international marble processing.
All the tourist accommodations and construction throughout coastal Spain has driven high demand and brought huge modernisation. Small pueblos of agriculturalists have given rise to computerised machining factories; the German-Spanish Calar Alto Observatory is one of the most important observatories of Spain. In Tabernas there is the Plataforma Solar de Almería. France's Michelin operates an industrial research centre in Cabo de Gata; the Paleolithic Age of Almería was characterized by small hunter-gatherer groups. The oldest Paleolithic site is Zájara Cave I in the Caves of the Almanzora; the first villages and spaces dedicated to burials appear by the Neolithic Age, before the Upper Paleolithic Age. The cave paintings of the Cave of the Signs and twenty other caves and shelters of Los Vélez are dated to this era, were designated a World Heritage site by Unesco in 1989. In one of the shelters of the first settlers of the peninsula, the Coat of the Beehives, there remains a human figure with arms outstretched holding an arc above its head.
According to legend, this picture represents a covenant made by prehistoric man with the gods to prevent future floods. It is the earliest depiction of the Almerían Indalo, named in memory of Saint Indaletius, means Indal Eccius in the Iberian language. Over the years, the Indalo has become the best known symbol of Almería; some see this figure as a man holding a rainbow, but it might be an archer pointing a bow towards the sky. The Indalo lent its name to the artistic and intellectual movement of the Indalianos led by Jesús de Perceval and Eugenio d'Ors, a movement of nostalgic attraction by the people of Mojácar; the people of Mojácar painted Indalos with chalk on the walls of their houses to guard against storms and the Evil Eye. It was Luis Siret y Cels, an eminent Belgium archaeologist, that described the rich prehistoric wealth of Almería that of the Metal Age. Siret said that Almería was like "an open-air museum". Indeed, Almería is home to two of the most important cultures of the Metal Age in the peninsula: Los Millares and El Argar.
The earliest known city, Los Millares, dates to the Copper Age and is strategically located on a spur of rock between the Andarax River and the Huéchar Ravine, in the southern part of the province. It was a down of more than a thousand inhabitants, protected by three lines of walls and towers, had an economy based on copper metallurgy, animal husbandry, hunting on a moderate scale. Furthermore, they constructed a large necropolis and exported metal figures and pottery to a large part of the peninsula; the influential culture of El Argar appeared during the Bronze Age. They developed a characteristic form of pottery, the vaso campaniforme that spread throughout all of Northern Spain, their cemeteries were more advanced with respect to the culture of Los Millares and they had diverse agricultural production and animal husbandry. The rich customs and Fiestas of the denizens retain links deep into the past, unto the Moors, the Romans, the Greeks, the Phoenicians. During the taifa era, it was ruled by the Moor Banu al-Amiri from 1012 to 1038 annexed by Valencia given by Zaragoza to the Banu Sumadih dynasty until its conquest by the Almoravids in 1091.
Some centuries it became part of the kingdom of Granada. List of municipalitie
Monte d'Accoddi is a Neolithic archaeological site in northern Sardinia, located in the territory of Sassari near Porto Torres. The site consists of a massive raised stone platform thought to have been an altar, it was constructed with the oldest parts dated to around c. 4,000-3,650 BCE. The site was discovered in 1954 in a field owned by the Segni family; the original structure was built by earlier c. 4,000-3,650 BCE and has a base of 27 m by 27 m and reached a height of 5.5 m. It culminated in a platform of about 12.5 m by 7.2 m, accessible via a ramp. No chambers or entrances to the mound have been found, leading to the presumption it was an altar, a temple or a step pyramid, it may have served an observational function, as its square plan is coordinated with the cardinal points of the compass. The initial Ozieri structure was abandoned or destroyed around 3000 BCE, with traces of fire found in the archeological evidence. Around 2800 BCE the remains of the original structure were covered with a layered mixture of earth and stone, large blocks of limestone were applied to establish a second platform, truncated by a step pyramid, accessible by means of a second ramp, 42 m long, built over the older one.
This second temple resembles contemporary Mesopotamian ziggurats, is attributed to the Abealzu-Filigosa culture. Archeological excavations from the chalcolithic Abealzu-Filigosa layers indicate the Monte d'Accoddi was used for animal sacrifice, with the remains of sheep and swine recovered in near equal proportions, it is among the earliest known sacrificial sites in Western Europe, providing insight into the development of ritual in prehistoric society, earning it a designation as "the most singular cultic monument in the early Western Mediterranean."The site appears to have been abandoned again around 1800 BCE, at the onset of the Nuragic age. The surroundings of the Monte d'Accoddi have been excavated in the 1960s, have provided the signs of a considerable sacred center. Near the south-eastern corner of the monument there is a dolmen, across the ramp stands a considerable menhir, one of several standing stones, found in the vicinity; the foundations of several small structures were excavated, several mysterious carved stones.
The most impressive of these is a large boulder carved into the shape of an egg and cut through on a subtle curving three-dimensional line. The monument was reconstructed during the 1980s, it is open to the public and accessible by the old route of SS131 highway, near the hamlet of Ottava. It is 45 km from Alghero. There is no public transportation to the site; the opening times vary throughout the year. Ercole Contu, Monte d´Accoddi. Problematiche di studio e di ricerca di un singolare monumento preistorico, Oxford 1984. S. Tinè, S. Bafico, T. Mannoni,'Monte d'Accoddi e la Cultura di Ozieri', in La Cultura di Ozieri: problematiche e nuove acquisizioni, Ozieri 1989, pp. 19–36. Ercole Contu, "L'altare preistorico di Monte d'Accoddi" Sardegna Digital Library Monte D’Accoddi: where in Italy you’ll feel like you’re in Mesopotamia
Megalithic architectural elements
This article describes several characteristic architectural elements typical of European megalithic structures. In archaeology, a forecourt is the name given to the area in front of certain types of chamber tomb. Forecourts were the venue for ritual practices connected with the burial and commemoration of the dead in the past societies that built these types of tombs. In European megalithic architecture, forecourts are curved in plan with the entrance to the tomb at the apex of the open semicircle enclosure that the forecourt creates; the sides were built up by either large upright stones or walls of smaller stones laid atop one another. Some had paved floors and some had blocking stones erected in front of them to seal the tomb such as at West Kennet Long Barrow, their shape, which suggests an attempt to focus attention on the tomb itself may mean that they were used ceremonially as a kind of open air auditorium during ceremonies. Excavation within some forecourts has recovered animal bone and evidence of burning suggesting that they served as locations for votive offerings or feasting dedicated to the dead.
See curb for the roadside edge. In archaeology, kerb or peristalith is the name for a stone ring built to enclose and sometimes revet the cairn or barrow built over a chamber tomb. European dolmens hunebed and dyss burials provide examples of the use of kerbs in megalithic architecture but they were added to other kinds of chamber tomb. Kerbs may be built in a dry stone wall method employing small blocks or more using larger stones set in the ground; when larger stones are employed, peristalith is the term more properly used. When the earth barrow has been weathered away, the surviving kerb can give the impression of being a stone circle although these monuments date from later. Excavation of barrows without stone rings such as Fussell's Lodge in Wiltshire suggests that, in these examples, timber or turf was used to define a kerb instead. In the British Isles, the enclosing nature of kerbs has been suggested to be analogous to Neolithic and Bronze Age stone and timber circles and henges which demonstrate an attempt to demarcate a distinct, round area for ritual or funerary purposes.
Famous sites with kerbs include Newgrange. An example of the dry stone wall type of kerb can be seen at Parc le Breos in Wales. An orthostat is a large stone with a more or less slab-like shape, artificially set upright. Menhirs and other standing stones are technically orthostats although the term is used by archaeologists only to describe individual prehistoric stones that constitute part of larger structures. Common examples include the walls of chamber tombs and other megalithic monuments and the vertical elements of the trilithons at Stonehenge. Orthostats may be carved with decoration in relief, a common feature of Hittite architecture and Assyrian sculpture among other styles. In the latter case, orthostats are large thin slabs of gypsum neatly and formed, for use as a wall-facing secured by metal fixings and carrying reliefs, which were painted. Many orthostats were a focus for megalithic art, as at Knowth in Ireland. In megalithic archaeology a port-hole slab is the name of an orthostat with a hole in it sometimes found forming the entrance to a chamber tomb.
The hole is circular but square examples or those made from two adjoining slabs each with a notch cut in it are known. They are common in the gallery graves of the Seine-Oise-Marne culture. Portal stones are a pair of Megalithic orthostats flanking the entrance to a chamber tomb, they are found in dolmens. Examples may be seen at Knocknakilla. A trilithon is a structure consisting of two large vertical stones supporting a third stone set horizontally across the top. Used in the context of megalithic monuments, the most famous trilithons are those at Stonehenge and those found in the Megalithic Temples of Malta; the word trilithon is derived from the Greek'having three stones' and was first used by William Stukeley. The term describes the groups of three stones in the Hunebed tombs of the Netherlands and the three massive stones forming part of the wall of the Roman Temple of Jupiter at Baalbek, Lebanon. List of megalithic sites List of ancient monoliths James Phillips, the Megalithic Architecture in Europe series Salvatore Piccolo, Ancient Stones: the Prehistoric Dolmens in Sicily, Thornham/Norfolk, Brazen Head Publishing BBC Highlands and Northern Isles - In Your Backyard The Comparative Archaeology Web - A Spatial Analysis of megalithic Tombs The Council for British Archaeology The Megalith Map The Megalithic Portal
The Bronze Age is a historical period characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies. An ancient civilization is defined to be in the Bronze Age either by producing bronze by smelting its own copper and alloying with tin, arsenic, or other metals, or by trading for bronze from production areas elsewhere. Bronze itself is harder and more durable than other metals available at the time, allowing Bronze Age civilizations to gain a technological advantage. Copper-tin ores are rare, as reflected in the fact that there were no tin bronzes in Western Asia before trading in bronze began in the third millennium BC. Worldwide, the Bronze Age followed the Neolithic period, with the Chalcolithic serving as a transition. Although the Iron Age followed the Bronze Age, in some areas, the Iron Age intruded directly on the Neolithic.
Bronze Age cultures differed in their development of the first writing. According to archaeological evidence, cultures in Mesopotamia and Egypt developed the earliest viable writing systems; the overall period is characterized by widespread use of bronze, though the place and time of the introduction and development of bronze technology were not universally synchronous. Human-made tin bronze technology requires set production techniques. Tin must be mined and smelted separately added to molten copper to make bronze alloy; the Bronze Age was a time of developing trade networks. A 2013 report suggests that the earliest tin-alloy bronze dates to the mid-5th millennium BC in a Vinča culture site in Pločnik, although this culture is not conventionally considered part of the Bronze Age; the dating of the foil has been disputed. Western Asia and the Near East was the first region to enter the Bronze Age, which began with the rise of the Mesopotamian civilization of Sumer in the mid 4th millennium BC.
Cultures in the ancient Near East practiced intensive year-round agriculture, developed a writing system, invented the potter's wheel, created a centralized government, written law codes and nation states and empires, embarked on advanced architectural projects, introduced social stratification and civil administration and practiced organized warfare and religion. Societies in the region laid the foundations for astronomy and astrology. Dates are approximate, consult particular article for details The Ancient Near East Bronze Age can be divided as following: The Hittite Empire was established in Hattusa in northern Anatolia from the 18th century BC. In the 14th century BC, the Hittite Kingdom was at its height, encompassing central Anatolia, southwestern Syria as far as Ugarit, upper Mesopotamia. After 1180 BC, amid general turmoil in the Levant conjectured to have been associated with the sudden arrival of the Sea Peoples, the kingdom disintegrated into several independent "Neo-Hittite" city-states, some of which survived until as late as the 8th century BC.
Arzawa in Western Anatolia during the second half of the second millennium BC extended along southern Anatolia in a belt that reaches from near the Turkish Lakes Region to the Aegean coast. Arzawa was the western neighbor – sometimes a rival and sometimes a vassal – of the Middle and New Hittite Kingdoms; the Assuwa league was a confederation of states in western Anatolia, defeated by the Hittites under an earlier Tudhaliya I, around 1400 BC. Arzawa has been associated with the much more obscure Assuwa located to its north, it bordered it, may be an alternative term for it. In Ancient Egypt the Bronze Age begins in the Protodynastic period, c. 3150 BC. The archaic early Bronze Age of Egypt, known as the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt follows the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt, c. 3100 BC. It is taken to include the First and Second Dynasties, lasting from the Protodynastic Period of Egypt until about 2686 BC, or the beginning of the Old Kingdom. With the First Dynasty, the capital moved from Abydos to Memphis with a unified Egypt ruled by an Egyptian god-king.
Abydos remained the major holy land in the south. The hallmarks of ancient Egyptian civilization, such as art and many aspects of religion, took shape during the Early Dynastic period. Memphis in the Early Bronze Age was the largest city of the time; the Old Kingdom of the regional Bronze Age is the name given to the period in the 3rd millennium BC when Egypt attained its first continuous peak of civilization in complexity and achievement – the first of three "Kingdom" periods, which mark the high points of civilization in the lower Nile Valley. The First Intermediate Period of Egypt described as a "dark period" in ancient Egyptian history, spanned about 100 years after the end of the Old Kingdom from about 2181 to 2055 BC. Little monumental evidence survives from this period from the early part of it; the First Intermediate Period was a dynamic time when the rule of Egypt was divided between two competing power bases: Heracleopolis in Lower Egypt and Thebes in Upper Egypt. These two kingdoms would come into conflict, with the Theban kings conquering the north, resulting in the reunification of Egypt under a single ruler during the second part of the 11th Dynasty.
The Middle Kingdom of Egypt laste
A megalith is a large stone, used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. The word megalithic describes structures made of such large stones without the use of mortar or concrete, representing periods of prehistory characterised by such constructions. For periods, the word monolith, with an overlapping meaning, is more to be used; the word megalith comes from the Ancient Greek μέγας and λίθος. Megalith denotes one or more rocks hewn in definite shapes for special purposes, it has been used to describe buildings built by people from many parts of the world living in many different periods. The term was first used in reference to Stonehenge by Algernon Herbert in 1849. A variety of large stones are seen as megaliths, with the most known megaliths not being tombs; the construction of these structures took place in the Neolithic period and continued into the Chalcolithic period and the Bronze Age. At a number of sites in eastern Turkey, large ceremonial complexes from the 9th millennium BC have been discovered.
They belong to the incipient phases of animal husbandry. Large circular structures involving carved. Although these structures are the most ancient megalithic structures known so far, it is not clear that any of the European megalithic traditions are derived from them. At Göbekli Tepe, four stone circles have been excavated from an estimated 20; some measure up to 30 metres across. As well as human figures, the stones carry a variety of carved reliefs depicting boars, lions, birds and scorpions. Dolmens and standing stones have been found in large areas of the Middle East starting at the Turkish border in the north of Syria close to Aleppo, southwards down to Yemen, they can be encountered in Lebanon, Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The largest concentration can be found in southern Syria and along the Jordan Rift Valley, however they are being threatened with destruction, they date from the late Chalcolithic/Early Bronze Age. Megaliths have been found on Kharg Island and pirazmian in Iran, at Barda Balka in Iraq.
A semicircular arrangement of megaliths was found in Israel at Atlit Yam, a site, now under the sea. It is a early example, dating from the 7th millennium BC; the most concentrated occurrence of dolmens in particular is in a large area on both sides of the Jordan Rift Valley, with greater predominance on the eastern side. They occur first and foremost on the Golan Heights, the Hauran, in Jordan, which has the largest concentration of dolmen in the Middle East. In Saudi Arabia, only few dolmen have been identified so far in the Hejaz, they seem, however, to re-emerge in Yemen in small numbers, thus could indicate a continuous tradition related to those of Somalia and Ethiopia. The standing stone has a ancient tradition in the Middle East, dating back from Mesopotamian times. Although not always'megalithic' in the true sense, they occur throughout the Orient, can reach 5 metres or more in some cases; this phenomenon can be traced through many passages from the Old Testament, such as those related to Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, who poured oil over a stone that he erected after his famous dream in which angels climbed to heaven.
Jacob is described as putting up stones at other occasions, whereas Moses erected twelve pillars symbolizing the tribes of Israel. The tradition of venerating stones continued in Nabatean times and is reflected in, e.g. the Islamic rituals surrounding the Kaaba and nearby pillars. Related phenomena, such as cupholes, rock-cut tombs and circles occur in the Middle East; the most common type of megalithic construction in Europe is the portal tomb – a chamber consisting of upright stones with one or more large flat capstones forming a roof. Many of these, though by no means all, contain human remains, but it is debatable whether use as burial sites was their primary function; the megalithic structures in the northwest of France are believed to be the oldest in Europe based on radiocarbon dating. Though known as dolmens, the term most accepted by archaeologists is portal tomb; however many local names exist, such as anta in Galicia and Portugal, stazzone in Sardinia, hunebed in the Netherlands, Hünengrab in Germany, dysse in Denmark, cromlech in Wales.
It is assumed that most portal tombs were covered by earthen mounds. The second-most-common tomb type is the passage grave, it consists of a square, circular, or cruciform chamber with a slabbed or corbelled roof, accessed by a long, straight passageway, with the whole structure covered by a circular mound of earth. Sometimes it is surrounded by an external stone kerb. Prominent examples include the sites of Brú na Bóinne and Carrowmore in Ireland, Maes Howe in Orkney, Gavrinis in France; the third tomb type is a diverse group known as gallery graves. These are axially arranged chambers placed under elongated mounds; the Irish court tombs, British long barrows, German Steinkisten belong to this group. Another type of megalithic monument, the single standing stone, or menhir as it is known in France, is common throughout Europe, where some 50,000 examples have been noted; some of these are thought to have an astronomical function as a foresight. In some areas and complex alignments of such stones exist, the largest known example being located at Carnac in Brittany, France.
In parts of Britain and Ireland a common type of megalithic construct