Innate and/or expressed identities: Their conceptualization through monumentality, funerary practices and grave goods? Some examples from the megalithic tradition of western France.

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Luc Laporte


The notion of identity has sometimes been implicitly likened to methodology of classification, which applies to prehistorian’s work in order to better position the subject of his research in time and space. Concerning megalithism in Western France, a model of unilinear development has now prevailed for about fifteen years, drawing a parallel between the classification of architectures and what appeared to be new suggestions concerning the periodisation of material culture. This model struggles in accounting for the entire diversity of the observed facts. Therefore, one has to accept the idea of multiplicity of identities or of multifaceted identities, sometimes coexisting within the same place. A technological approach assumes that all material implementation realized by men – beyond functional constraints and specificities – bears a part of innate identity resulting from the manner in which the operational sequences, whether simple or complex, are set up. At the same time, all these implementations materialise a conceptual standard to which expressed identity values are often attributed. Amongst the numerous conceptual standards whose entire diversity we only just start to perceive in the megalithism of Western France, a very elongated trapeze-shaped plan lined by two lateral quarries is valorised. According to a general proposal hardly new in itself, this standard is not without recalling the plan of the Danubian house .

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How to Cite
Laporte, Luc. 2010. “Innate and/Or Expressed Identities: Their Conceptualization through Monumentality, Funerary Practices and Grave Goods? Some Examples from the Megalithic Tradition of Western France.”. Journal of Neolithic Archaeology 12 (2).