Generically, monuments are organised using four recognised architectural elements: the mound, the entrance or façade, the passage, and the chamber. I suppose a fifth element could be landscape. These clear building traits are repeated across much of Atlantic Europe. However, there are many idiosyncratic nuances that establish regional traditions in monument-building, concepts that are discussed in this superbly edited book.
The book forms part of the Proceedings of the XVIII UISPP World Congress (held in June 2018 in Paris) and is organised into ten chapters, each focusing on various construction techniques in megalithic building. The title of this book is missing the word ‘Neolithic’, but many of the chapters appear to focus on this period. Although in the past I have had issues with conference volumes in that they usually present a smorgasbord of topics and ideas, this volume thankfully bucks the trend and provides the reader with a focused account of the architectural and building processes involved in monument-building. The book is divided into English- and French-language papers; however, this does not detract from the well-crafted editorship of the book. Another must-have for the Neolithic/monument bookshelf.
Pre and Protohistoric Stone Architectures: comparisons of the social and technical contexts associated to their building, Florian Cousseau and Luc Laporte (eds) Archaeopress, £38 ISBN 978-1789695458.
Review by George Nash.