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The Lives of Prehistoric Monuments in Iron Age, Roman, and Medieval Europe$
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Marta Díaz-Guardamino, Leonardo García Sanjuán, and David Wheatley

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198724605

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198724605.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 July 2021

Roman Dolmens? The Megalithic Necropolises of Eastern Maghreb Revisited

Roman Dolmens? The Megalithic Necropolises of Eastern Maghreb Revisited

(p.287) 15 Roman Dolmens? The Megalithic Necropolises of Eastern Maghreb Revisited
The Lives of Prehistoric Monuments in Iron Age, Roman, and Medieval Europe

Joan Sanmartí

Nabil Kallala

Rafel Jornet

M. Carme Belarte

Joan Canela

Sarhane Chérif

Jordi Campillo

David Montanero

Xavier Bermúdez

Thaïs Fadrique

Víctor Revilla

Joan Ramon

Moncef Ben Moussa

Oxford University Press

North Africa has a rich tradition of archaeological studies. Its origins and early development are linked to the modern colonization of the region by several European powers, but it has also had a remarkable continuity after decolonization, both in international cooperation missions and in solo work developed by the research institutions of the Maghreb states, most particularly in Tunisia. However, this research has been extremely biased as regards the periods and cultures studied, since, due to easy to imagine political reasons related to the European colonization, the Roman period and the remains of early Christianity constituted a primary aim of the research. For this reason, pre-Roman levels that lie below the vast majority of Roman sites have been hardly explored. Although this state of affairs persisted after decolonization, it has been slowly changing in recent years. The situation is somewhat different with regard to funerary archaeology, as North Africa, especially its eastern portion, is characterized by the existence of a surprising number and diversity of pre-Roman sepulchral monuments (there are tens of thousands of recorded monuments) (Camps 1961). Owing to their high visibility, these monuments constitute the best-known aspect of North Africa’s pre-Roman archaeology. Yet, current knowledge on them is still limited due to the small number of excavations that have been carried out following modern methodology. In addition to the large monumental tombs linked to Numidian monarchies (strongly influenced by Punic and Hellenistic models), we can mention, among others, the following types: rock-cut chamber tombs (known as haouanet); large mounds that hide funerary chambers that are completely invisible from the outside (at times, they are bordered by more or less substantial walls; they are then called bazinas); tower-shaped monuments (called chouchet in Algeria); other structures are essentially similar to European dolmens, and still others consist of generally small built chambers surrounded by circular walls and covered by megalithic slabs; very frequently these are also called ‘dolmens’, although they do not have any side access and they frequently do not seem to be collective graves.

Keywords:   Algeria, Byzantine, Djebel Mazela, Ellès, Hellenistic, Libyan, Makthar, Punic, Vandal, decolonization

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