Megalithic Tombs of Brittany and the Roman Occupation in Western France
The extended lives of prehistoric monuments, whether or not they were interacted with once their initial phase of use had ended and how they were treated, can reveal valuable details about a culture. To interact with a place means that the action or inﬂuence is reciprocal. The individual, or group of individuals, is somehow affected by the physical contact they’ve had with the site, and the place in turn has been altered. Interactions are more than just reuse of a space. In fact, missing pieces of monuments’ biographies, evidence of subsequent use and treatment, are details that may tell us how a people dealt with their own past as well as that of others. The focus of this study is a region in which the biographies of a group of monuments appear to be intimately tied to clashing cultures during the Roman occupation: Morbihan, Brittany. Brittany is the westernmost province of France, roughly 30 kilometres north-west of the mouth of the Loire river, and extending over 200 kilometres westward into the Celtic Sea. The south-easternmost department of this province is Morbihan, which makes up over 6,800 square kilometres and centres on the Gulf of Morbihan, a few kilometres south of Vannes (Darioritum), the Roman-period civitas-capital of the Veneti. Darioritum was not only a port for commercial ships, but was also on the major road network connecting the Coriosolitae (Corseul), Osismes (Carhaix-Plouguer) and Namnetes (Nantes) civitates (Galliou and Jones 1991, 77, 81, 84). Evidence found in a thorough survey of Iron Age and Roman materials at megalithic tombs in Atlantic Europe revealed that Brittany is by far the region with the highest concentration of direct Roman period interactions, despite both the distribution of megalithic tombs across the peninsula and subsequent habitation patterns during the Iron Age and Roman periods (Scarre 2011, 29–33; Vejby 2012) . It also revealed that this activity is a major shift from the comparatively low number of megalithic tombs at which Iron Age materials have been found.
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