Megaliths and Geology

One of the essentials of building a megalithic chambered burial monument is the choice of materials used to construct it. It is now considered that stone (boulders, stone erratics and fragments, and quarried stone) used in the construction of megaliths was carefully chosen for its colour, lustre, shape, size, and texture, and carefully incorporated into the monument’s architecture. The idea that stone was merely taken randomly from the surrounding landscape is now debunked. The use of sedimentary and igneous stones played a symbolic role in not just the construction, but also in the use of these megalithic monuments.

It is refreshing to see a book that is devoted to the geology associated with megaliths. A conference held in Redondo, Portugal in 2015 – Mega-Talks 2 – resulted in this well-crafted volume. Organised into nine chapters plus an informative introduction, the volume discusses the many scenarios in which geology played a significant role in the life of a megalithic chambered tomb. Although the book has a Portuguese research bias, there are several chapters that explore the Stonehenge landscape and the wider European context. Many of the chapters clearly show the association between geology and death, burial, and ritual – a must-have book for those interested in all things megalithic. 

Review by George Nash.
Megaliths and Geology , Rui Boaventura, Rui Mataloto and André Pereira (eds) Archaeopress, £38 ISBN 978-1789696417.