Reconnecting the Late Neolithic Social Landscape: A Microregional Study of Objects, Settlements and Tombs from Iberia

Ana Jorge

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The contrast between monumentalized burials and almost invisible settlements has dominated Neolithic studies in western Europe, reinforcing an artificial divide between ceremonial and economically productive landscapes. By combining a material culture approach with a landscape scale, comparative artefact studies can trace connections between people, places, and social contexts. This paper investigates social networks in Late Neolithic Portugal by examining artefact provenance, biographies, and deposition on the Mondego Plateau. It focuses on three sites and four object categories characteristic of this period. The study reveals great diversity of raw materials, circulation of everyday objects, and regional availability of resources previously thought to be imports. It suggests that people used dispersed resource areas in an integrated way, and that exchange was an integral part of routine life. Evidence for links across the region is not restricted to tombs. Burial assemblages resulted from a complex web of social relations that preceded, accompanied, and followed the actions surrounding death. Understanding these places and fundamental questions about Neolithic social production and reproduction requires reconnecting tombs and settlements into wider lived landscapes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434–467
Number of pages34
JournalEuropean Journal of Archaeology
Issue number3
Early online date21 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2014


  • Late Neolithic
  • social landscape
  • megalithic tombs
  • settlement
  • object biographies
  • social networks
  • provenance


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