In later ages the material properties of megaliths were occasionally seen as so valuable in terms of their use-value that megaliths were destroyed and the stones reused for different purposes.
In other cases, the megaliths were not removed, but re-usednot only
by rabbits and foxes for their burrows, but also by people,
It cannot be ruled out that during later prehistory
ancient monuments were valued for their physical properties (perhaps more
so than for any other meaning). This has been well
documented for Orkney and North Uist during the Iron Age, when chambered
cairns were used as part of later houses built on top of them (Hingley 1996;
MacKie 1998), as well as for Sardinia, where many nuraghi from the Bronze
Age served a variety of domestic, mortuary and cultic purposes of later
generations (Blake 1997, 1998). In Roman Britain
and ancient Greece, too, ancient tombs and monuments
were re-used for entirely different purposes. This seems equally to have
been the case in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern:
Perhaps some secondary burials constitute nothing else but reuses of existing earthen mounds in the landscape. Perhaps some cup-marks are nothing but the traces of where, for whatever reason, bits of stone were taken away for re-using them elsewhere. And perhaps some ancient objects were not valued for their age value in later ages, but only for their material properties (see e.g. Carelli 1997: 405f.).
Beltz, Robert (1901) Hünengrab von Cramon. Mecklenburgische Jahrbücher 66, 115140.
Blake, Emma (1997) Negotiating Nuraghi: Settlement and the Construction of Ethnicity in Roman Sardinia. In: K.Meadows, C.Lemke, and J.Heron (eds) TRAC 96. Proceedings of the Sixth Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, Sheffield 1996, pp. 113119. Oxford: Oxbow.
Blake, Emma (1998) Sardinia's nuraghi: four millennia of becoming. World Archaeology 30 (1), 5971.
Carelli, Peter (1997) Thunder and Lightning, Magical Miracles. On the Popular Myth of Thunderbolts and the Presence of Stone Age Artefacts in Medieval Deposits. In: H.Andersson, P.Carelli and L.Ersgård (eds) Visions of the Past. Trends and Traditions in Swedish Medieval Archaeology, pp. 393417. Lund Studies in Medieval Archaeology 19 and Riksantikvarieämbetet Arkeologiska Skrifter nr. 24. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.
Hingley, Richard (1996) Ancestors and identity in the later prehistory of Atlantic Scotland: the reuse and reinvention of Neolithic monuments and material culture. World Archaeology 28(2), 231243.
MacKie, Euan (1998) Continuity over three thousand years of Northern Prehistory: the 'tel' at Howe, Orkney. The Antiquaries Journal 78, 1-42.
Nugents, Thomas (1781) Reisen durch Deutschland und vorzüglich durch Mecklenburg. Part One. Berlin and Stettin: Friedrich Nicolai.
© Cornelius Holtorf