Lost and found: The Funnel Beaker culture’s ‘megalithic tombs’ in the cultural and natural landscape of Greater Poland

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Faculty of Archaeology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

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Non-megalithic long barrows were the earliest type of monumental tombs that occurred in Europe. The oldest structures of this type, dating to 4800-4300 BC, are known from north- western France. Then, at the beginning of the 4 th millennium BC, unchambered structures occurred in southern and central England, northern and central Germany, Denmark, and Poland. In Poland, tombs representing the Funnel Beaker culture (TRB) are found in several distinct concentrations which do not correspond to the entire range of the settlement oecumene of this community. They are also quite diverse in terms of construction and size. Interestingly, their origin and purpose still remain a mystery. It seems likely, though, that for their creators they had much higher significance than just a place to bury some selected members of the community. Most probably, they were a kind of symbolic marker of a given area, testifying to the unity and power of the communities living in such a region. Some researchers associate their origin with the influence of hunter-gatherer communities on agricultural communities. Other approaches to this topic point to the importance of borrowing the house model of early Neolithic communities, which was symbolically transformed into a ‘house for the dead’, i.e. a tomb. In most regions of Poland, megaliths were only ‘rediscovered’ in the 19 th century by archaeologists, some of whom were amateurs. Unfortunately, this was not the case in Great- er Poland. The megalithic tombs of the TRB remained unrecognized there until the second decade of the 21 st century! What largely contributed to their discovery was technological progress, mainly the use of LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging). Ongoing research aims to locate and verify occurrences of other cemeteries and to ‘embed’ them in the cultural and natural landscape of this region.




Greater Poland, Funnel Beaker culture, TRB, Non-megalithic long barrows, paleoenvironment


Treasures of Time: Research of the Faculty of Archaeology of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (2021) D. Żurkiewicz (Ed.). pp. 64-87



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Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego