Monuments and economies : What drove their variability in the middle-Holocene Neolithic?
In the regions of southern Scandinavia and northern Germany, within the Neolithic (c. 4100–1700 BCE), two episodes of intensified monumental burial construction are known: Funnel Beaker megaliths mainly from c. 3400–3100 BCE and Single Grave burial mounds from c. 2800–2500 BCE. So far, it remains unclear whether these boom phases of monumental construction were linked with phases of economic expansion, to phases of economic changes or to periods of economic crisis: do they precede and stimulate periods of economic growth? Or are they a social practice that results from social changes within the societies? To approach these research questions, we will use mainly information on the intensity of monumental construction phases, artefact depositions, environmental changes and changes in subsistence strategies as proxies for comparative studies. Our database comes from the southern Cimbrian Peninsula and adjacent areas. Being one of the most intensively archaeologically researched regions of Neolithic Europe, this region provides robust data sets. As a result, the study demonstrates that during the Funnel Beaker period, economy and ritual were closely interlinked, while disconnected in the Single Grave period.