Functions, uses and representations of space in the monumental graves of Neolithic Europe (Funerary Space confe)

Venue: Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l\'Homme (MMSH)

Location: Aix-en-Provence, France

Event Date/Time: Jun 08, 2011 End Date/Time: Jun 10, 2011
Abstract Submission Date: Feb 28, 2011
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The funerary constructions of Neolithic Europe are characterised by their monumentality, their architectural complexity, the diversity of their funerary deposits and by occasional presence of parietal art. They are genuine ‘architectures’ in the sense that the combination of these various components forms a thought-out and built three-dimensional space, itself superimposed on a natural space. The construction and use of these monuments involve a large number of choices on different scales of space: where built the monument in the landscape? How design its external shape? How organize its various internal structures? What location for the mortuary remains and funerary objects? What location for the carved or painted symbols? Space then is a central and essential issue for these monuments, to which no general study on a European scale has ever been devoted.

This conference will analyse the deliberate and organized relationships with space that are found inside the monumental graves of Neolithic Europe (mounds, cairns, tumuli, chambered tombs, hypogea, etc.) It will invite and gather for the first time recent studies and syntheses focusing on the configuration of the tombs’ architecture, the spatial organization of the funerary deposits, the spatial organization of the parietal motifs, and/or the relationships between tombs and natural landscape. Papers on the object and period of the conference will be preferred but external studies (from a chronological and geographical point of view) dealing with the central question of the conference will also be welcomed.

The first objective of the conference will be the identification of the various spatial choices involved and articulated on different scales inside and outside the tombs. How an
analysis of the landscape, architecture, funerary practices and parietal motifs can inform us about particular relationships with space? How these relationships evolved in time? What divergences and convergences can be found between the different regions of Europe?

The second objective will be to interpret these choices. What were the functions of the various architectural spaces inside the tombs? What was the role of the natural space around the
tombs? How the particular relationships with space inform us about the social structures and practices of the Neolithic people in Europe? How they inform us about their symbolic conceptions and representations of the funerary space?

Theme 1 – Spatial organization of funerary deposits inside monumental graves.

Theme 2 – Partition, structuration and evolution of the internal architecture of the tombs.

Theme 3 – Spatial organization of funerary iconography (both parietal and mobiliary art).

Theme 4 – Spatial relationships between tombs (necropolis), and between tombs and landscape.

Organizing committee:
Guillaume Robin (Università degli Studi di Sassari, UMR 6636 LaMPEA)
Maxence Bailly (Université de Provence, UMR 6636 LaMPEA)
André D’Anna (CNRS, UMR 6636 LaMPEA)
Aurore Schmitt (CNRS, UMR 6578 Anthropologie bioculturelle)

Scientific committee
Christine Boujot (SRA Bretagne, UMR 6566 CReAAH)
Serge Cassen (CNRS, UMR 6566 CReAAH)
Jean Leclerc (CNRS, UMR 7041 ArScAn)
Colin Richards (University of Manchester)
Maïtena Sohn (Archeodunum SA, UMR 5608 TRACES)


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Additional Information

Proposals submission: All proposals, including a title, abstract (150 words maximum) and the name, affiliation and email address of the author(s), should be send by email before the 28th of February 2011 to: or After examination of the proposal by the organizing and scientific committees, an answer will be sent to you before the 10th of March 2011. Registration fee: Speakers and auditors can register in advance for the conference by filling in the registration form (available on the conference website). The registration fees are of 20 € (normal fee) and 10 € (students with supporting document). They include the pre-proceedings of the conference, the coffee breaks and the wine reception of the first evening.