Uncovering a hidden neolithic landscape. Locating neolithic monumental sites through remote sensing, geophysics, and archaeology.
The role of central gathering places in Neolithic societies has been stressed in much of recent archaeology. In this project, we wish to add to this discussion by analysing a particular region, Falbygden in western Sweden. The area has unique advantages for such a study, due to good preservation, highly structured landscape, and well researched Neolithic archaeology. The central places are sites enclosed by ditch systems and palisades, thought to have played a major role in the reproduction of Neolithic social systems. Such sites are known from South Scandinavia and much of central and western Europe but have so far not been identified in western Sweden. We wish to locate Neolithic central sites in the area and analyse their relation to other elements of the landscape such as settlements and passage graves, as well as communication routes and natural features. This will add significantly to our understanding of Neolithic landscape and society. To do this, we wish to employ a combination of remote sensing, geophysical prospection, GIS modelling and archaeological fieldwork. Other types of monuments, such as long barrows and palisade enclosures may also be found. Promising sites identified by geophysical prospection, remote sensing and GIS modelling will be evaluated in the field by archaeological test excavations.