Boom and Bust, Hierarchy and Balance: From Landscape to Social Meaning – Megaliths and Societies in Northern Central Europe
约翰内斯·穆勒 Johannes Müller
(德国基尔大学 Christian-Albrecht University of Kiel)
SPP 1400（DFG优先计划1400）“早期纪念碑性和社会分化”在为期六年（2010-2016年）的研究中，重点研究了纪念性建筑，特别是巨石建筑及其社会、经济背景。为了了解这些过程，学者们对现有的及新获得的数据进行了综合，并结合生态、社会历史和文化人类学观点进行解释。 SPP研究团队由超过25名科学家和考古学家组成，他们从德国北部和南斯堪的那维亚所谓的“漏斗颈陶文化时期”（TBS）地区的考古和古生态档案中收集并分析了相关信息。
北部景观主要由封闭的混合橡树林构成，沿水域及海岸零散分布有开放区域。从觅食到农业的早期转变是与North Atlantic Bond Event 4 同时的，并在斯堪的纳维亚南部和德国北部有区域性的输入。这是根据公元前4000-公元前3800年左右的斯卡格拉克海峡深海重建和贝劳湖的高分辨率沉积学证据推导出的。有证据表明尤其是在公元前4050-4010的40年糟糕年份，在埃斯波尔斯坦，这一气候事件对经济和社会发展有巨大影响。从环境的角度来看，直到公元前35世纪，气候才变暖和改善，到公元前3200年左右的气候再次恶化。这些气候变化也可能调节了经济和社会发展，包括纪念物的兴衰。
孢粉代用记录表明了土地开垦和重新造林的阶段。在公元前4200-公元前3600年左右，土地开垦量不断增加，随后在公元前3600-公元前3400年左右开始出现明显的繁荣，直到公元前3200年左右达到顶峰，大约在公元前3100-公元前3000年左右突然萧条。通过增加或减少塌积发生率的数量所获得的塌积层数的加权值支持了这一观察。除了环境导致的土地开垦外，还必须在这个过程中考虑人类影响的强度，人口的发展以及经济战略的变化都可能是景观变化的原因。生业经济越来越依赖谷物栽培和家养动物。谷物谱图中自由脱粒的大麦和二粒小麦是其主要作物，其次是少量的单粒小麦（Triticum monococcum）和自由脱粒的小麦（Triticum aestivum sl）。畜牧业的发展显示约从公元前4000−公元前3700年，驯养的动物骨骼从大约10％稳定增长到70％；约从公元前3400−公元前3100年，由70％缓慢增长到90％；到公元前3千纪，仍在明显持续增长。对来自奥尔登堡–达瑙的动物骨骼的同位素分析表明，TRB移民在当地牧场有一项限制策略，也检测到了施肥迹象。除动植物外，采集的植物和鱼类在维持生业经济中也发挥了重要作用。
巨石建筑的流行改变了景观。不仅建立了令人印象深刻的纪念物，而且在几个世纪中被用作融合不同的社会和礼仪习俗。在霍尔施泰因Wangels LA 69号通道墓中，没有在内室里发现被清理的痕迹，也没有在甬道的前部发现奉纳式供品。但在墓室发现了丰富多样的陶器组合。用贝叶斯方法校准了85个放射性测年，确认了墓室的建造晚于公元前3350年左右基础仓库的建造，内室许多陶罐的堆积则发生在约公元前3200年，墓室最后的活动发生于公元前2100年左右。与此相关的发现是尽管里面的陶壶、陶罐等从未被触碰和被破坏，但墓道和墓室在数百年中都保持开放状态。我们将该遗址解释为制度化的祖先崇拜和创造，以及蓄意改变的记忆。单独埋葬仪式的合并（例如圆形土丘中附加长丘，在长丘中形成石堆墓），表明该遗址在大约公元前3100年开始出现新的思想实践。
虽然并没有任何清理事件发生（但思想意识方向肯定会发生改变），Wangels LA69 的例子显示了对该遗址的长期记忆。即使一些墓室可能会被清理，例如在Albersdorf-Brutkamp，遗址的废弃或墓室的关闭发生时间不早于公元前3100/3000年。即使上述要素瓦解或解构之后，该遗址的仪式或祖先崇拜即使在记忆改变的情况下也能使重造
Who and what triggered Neolithic monumentality, and why? As palaeo-environmental and archaeological archives of the northern central European and southern Scandinavian Funnel Beaker societies have proven to be excellent, the reconstruction of their social processes linked with the introduction of agriculture and the construction of first monuments displays a well-researched example for investigating the triggers and meanings of Neolithic structures and processes.
The SPP 1400 (DFG Priority Program 1400) “Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation” focused on the investigation of these phenomena of monumental structures, in particular on megalithic constructions and their social and economic backgrounds for six years of research (2010-2016). From the synthesis of available and newly-acquired data combined with the interpretation from ecological, socio-historical and cultural anthropological perspectives, an understanding of these processes was aimed at. The SPP, was comprised of a group of more than 25 scientists and archaeologists, that gathered and analysed information from archaeological and palaeo-ecological archives for the region of the so-called Funnel Beaker Societies (“Trichterbechergesellschaften” – TBS) in North Germany and South Scandinavia.
Within this interdisciplinary team, we analysed environmental, social and cultural aspects of the development, including the environmental and economic background, the megalithic boom, and the general constitution of the TRB communities.
Environment and Economy
Within the northern landscape that mainly comprised closed mixed oak forests with patchy open areas along the waters and open areas along the coasts, the early transformation from foraging to farming is contemporary to the with regional input in southern Scandinavia and northern Germany. This was conducted from Skagerrak deepwater reconstructions around 4000−3800 BCE and high-resolution sedimentological evidence from Lake Belau. Evidence for 40 bad years from 4050−4010 BCE in Eastholstein suggests that this climatic event had a huge impact on the economic and social development. From an environmental perspective, the warmer and bettering conditions until the 35th century BCE and the climatic deterioration around 3200 BCE might have modulated the economic and social developments, including the boom and bust of monuments.
Phases of land opening and reforestation are indicated by the palynological proxy record. Increasing land openings around 4200−3600 BCE are followed by an impressive boom around 3600−3400 BCE with a high level until around 3200 BCE, as well as a steep bust around 3100−3000 BCE. Weighted numbers of colluvial layers support these observations by increasing and decreasing amounts of colluvial incidence. Besides environmental triggers for the land openings, the intensity of human impact has to be seen as the primary cause. Both demographic developments as well as changes in the economic strategy could be the cause for the landscape changes. Subsistence economy increasingly depended on cereal cultivates and domesticated animals. The cereal spectrum mainly included free-threshing barley and emmer as the main crops, followed to a minor extent by einkorn (Triticum monococcum) and free-threshing wheat (Triticum aestivum sl). The development of animal husbandry displays a steady increase of domesticates around 4000−3700 BCE from about 10 to 70 % of the bone assemblages, a smooth increase from 70 to 90 % around 3400−3100 BCE, which obviously also continues in the 3rd millennium BCE. Isotopic analysis of the animal bones from Oldenburg-Dannau indicates a restricted local pasture strategy of the TRB settlers. Indications of manuring are detected. Besides animals and plants, both gathered plants and fish also played an important role within the subsistence economy.
From an economic perspective the introduction of the animal-pulled plough and the wheal furthered important changes within the agricultural system and the land use practices. While evidence of ploughing is already indicated in the 38th century BCE, the main breakthrough of the new technology took place between ca. 3650 and 3300 BCE. The increasing role of intensive agricultural practices might be a result of this technological change, as well as the possible trigger for the appearance of the first villages in the 34th century BCE.
The Megalithic Boom and Biographies of Memorialization
Within such an environmental and economic background, the major boom of the megaliths in northern Germany started with an increasing number of monuments around 3600 BCE and the boom around 3450 BCE. We are talking about 1,200 monuments that were erected around 3200 BCE in about 50 years only on the southern Cimbrian Peninsula, which means about 25 megaliths each year! If the distribution of megaliths was random, a megalith would have been constructed every 25 km (a walking distance of about 7 hours by foot).
From a typological perspective, the traditional categorisation of the monuments into different kinds of dolmen and passage graves has been in use since decades and there is no obvious reason to change the classification system used. As the majority of dolmen are dated to 3650−3350 BCE and passage graves mainly to 3300−3100/3000 BCE, some earlier dates indicate the presence of new architectural innovation before the boom of each architectural concept started. Thus, already in the 39th century BCE singular dolmen were erected and in the 36th century BCE singular passage graves were erected (long before the dolmen boom after ca. 3650 BCE and the passage grave boom after ca. 3350 BCE). The combination of radiometric dating, typochronological dating of the earliest inventories within the megaliths and the aoristic approach made an absolute quantification of the megalithic development in northern Germany possible. Monuments were especially erected between ca. 3400−3100 BCE, an extraordinary boom and bust period of monumentality. After ca. 3050 BCE, almost no new megaliths were erected, whereby two more or less non-monumental centuries followed (before the boom of early Single Grave mounds started in some areas).
The boom in megalithic architecture changed the landscape. Not only the impressive monuments were erected, but they were also used for centuries with the integration of different social and ritual practices. At the Holsteiner passage grave of Wangels LA 69, neither a clearing of the inner chamber nor votive offerings in front of the passage were detected, but rich and manifold ceramics were deposited within the chamber.
The Bayesian calibration of 85 radiometric dates confirmed the construction of the chamber around 3350 BCE, followed by the deposition of many pots in the inner part around 3200 BCE and more activities within the chamber around 2100 BCE. Highly relevant is the observation that the passage and chamber were hold open for hundreds of years, although the deposition of pots and jugs was never touched or destroyed. In our interpretation, the site signifies the institutionalised ancestor worship and the creation, as well as deliberate change of memories. The incorporation of individual burial practices – represented in a stone heap grave in an additional long mound elongation of the round mound – describes the beginning of a new ideological practice at the site around 3100 BCE.
The example of Wangels LA69 displays the long-lasting memorialization of the site without any clearing events (but surely with changes in the ideological orientation). Even if such clearings of the chamber are probable (like at Albersdorf-Brutkamp), the dismantling of sites or the closing of chambers took place not before 3100/3000 BCE. The ritual practices at the sites and the ancestor worship enabled the creation of ritual places with changed memories even after described elements of deconstruction or disintegration.
While the places catalysed memory construction, sites of agglomerated megalithic places were also linked to certain taboos. The spatial respecting of neighbouring megaliths highlights the agglomeration of further memories both within the agglomeration of megaliths at megalithic cemeteries like Flintbek, Borgstedt or the Haldensleber Forst, and within smaller megalithic grave groups like Lüdelsen or Albersdorf. Obviously, the chain-like agglomeration of single burials and burial mounds to a long mound at Flintbek 3 is mirrored by the integration of the many megalithic monuments at Flintbek into the chain of megaliths of the whole cemetery. From the micro to the meso level, as a product megalithic landscapes are consequently consequently a memorialized reflection of the living world.
This perspective also applies to the middle Eider Valley with the Büdelsdorf and Borgstedt sites (1.5 km distance), which exemplify the relational and partly fluid structure between enclosures, settlements, non-megalithic and megalithic monuments. Within the long-lasting history (Hage 2016), the demarcation of the forested area with the 5.6 ha large causewayed enclosure and the partly earlier burial activities at Borgstedt started around 3900 BCE. After different phases of renewals and erections of new monuments, including the re-arrangement of the non-megalithic long mounds to megalithic tombs, around 3300 BCE the ritual character of Büdelsdorf 1c was abolished. A new settlement with probably about 40−50 longhouses was constructed with an inner living and working area and an outer area for special activities. Besides, the transformation from a purely ritual centre to a mainly domestic area was accompanied by a continuation and intensification of the burial activities in nearby Borgstedt. After about four generations, the agglomeration of probably about 400−500 people was abandoned again (probably due to over-exploitation of the nearby soils) and Büdelsdorf continued as a renewed causewayed enclosure until around 2800 BCE.
Within the middle Eider valley, megalithic monuments cluster within the areas of local population agglomerations, although they are also situated as links between settled areas. Within such a local ordering of the spatial arrangements, the ‘loading’ of the landscape with the meaning of social practices of monumentality is evident.
“Memorialization” and “destruction” are narratives that are also visible in the domestic record of TRB sites. For example at Oldenburg-Dannau, the earliest feature of the settlement is the flat burial of a 40−50 year-old woman, which was respected until the 31st century BCE. Around 3070 BCE, two wells of the village were filled in the same manner, with burned apples and cereal at the ground, destroyed TRB pots and querns following and white shining shells at the top. This obviously ritual infilling included the femur of the female from the flat grave, for which a pit was specially dug. Thus, for about 250 years the burial of the female village founder was respected, although at a moment of other changes it was destroyed and used for ritual performances.
The Societal Development
Both the environmental/economic background information and the history of the first monumentalisation of the Nordic landscape could be put into a general picture of the development of TRB societies. Limited differences in access to resources, common property rights in contrast to individual properties and participation in common ritualised activities were vehicles to keep the household mode of production and a kind of reciprocity valid for centuries. Archaeologically defined TRB phases with certain societal characteristics were detected.
Phase 1 – Bad years and open networks (4100-3800 BCE). Late Mesolithic Ertebølle communities were identified as societies in which social identity was expressed by communal activities like the maintenance of fish fences or the ritual waste deposition in kitchen middens. The collective organisation of daily and yearly life was expressed in local customs and regional ties that included the integration of rare objects from the south into deposits. As a specific pattern, the ritual destruction of objects and the exclusion of such objects from utilitarian consumption hindered the development of institutionalised social stratification.
The already described 40 bad years of the 41st century BCE brought this deliberate social behaviour under pressure. Consequently, the long-lasting ties to other regions were used for the integration of new tools and technologies into the existing system. This did not result in the creation of social hierarchies but rather the continuation of existing social practices by compatible innovations. Within such a world, the division between ritual and domestic ideologies did not exist.
Phase 2 – Better years and self-construction (3800-3600 BCE). In a similar manner, the construction of non-megalithic long mounds with individual burials is not the expression of a diversification and a stratification of the society, but rather a continued practice that was already materialised in the “kitchen midden” principle (the latter disappearing with the changing sea salinity) (Müller 2013d). If so, for the first time the division of domestic and ritual spheres as described above created a social arena in which the display of social power was possible for communities and also for individuals or families. However, this never happened; instead, the better years furthered a demographic growth and a manifold of economic practices that led to the integration of further domesticates and cultivars into subsistence economies.
Phase 3 – Boom and social competition (3600-3350 BCE). The beginning main building phase of megaliths like dolmens, enclosures and the main depositional period followed around 3650−3300 BCE. While the division of ritual and domestic activities furthered the construction of cultural landscapes, it is difficult to estimate reasons for the increased building activities around 3650 BCE and the boom afterwards. The first monuments and causewayed enclosures were built before the main shift towards an agrarian economy (already in the 38th century BCE) with partly open landscapes in the core areas of the development. The demographic and economic boom was not reflected in the exclusion of parts of the population, e.g. from burial or depositional customs. Instead, all practices were organised in a manner that left almost everybody with possibilities to participate. Nevertheless, beside the principle of reciprocity and sharing that is detectable e.g. in similarly used raw material resources or constructed architecture, social competition and hierarchical structures also gained significance. Examples include different qualities of the equipment of individual flat graves or even different size categories of neighbouring monuments.
Phase 4 – Sharing (3350-3100 BCE). In terms of the divergence of such developments, the answer seemed to differ in respect to governance. The accumulation of populations in first villages again allowed the collective organisation of economic, social and ritual matters. The construction boom of megalithic passage graves with a collective social connotation again represented the acephalous or polyphalous orientation of the society. Even if power were organised and marked by symbols of power, the individuals were first of all actors of a common organisation and not so much an institutionalised social class.
Phase 5 – Individualisation (3100-2800 BCE). Nevertheless, the described processes were associated with a concentration of power. While the prior energy investment and conspicuous consumption of communities was originally visible at many dispersed places with the construction of smaller monuments, the new concept of passage graves was restricted to a small number of places. This agglomeration of energy investment was enforced by a kind of competition between communities that furthered the importance of individuals, e.g. warriors. The further development might be characterised as an individualisation through which the collective system of the TRB societies was overcome by a new kind of society: not a necessarily more hierarchized one, but a society with the pronunciation of the individual (later the Single Grave societies). Whether these changes were induced by mobile groups, cohesion processes within the Funnel Beaker societies or by both is a matter of discussion. Consequently, TRB communities developed themselves in a mode of hierarchy and balance, triggering booms and busts in respect to monument building and economic input. Tendencies towards social stratification were hindered by different processes, including the integration communities in the construction of monuments.
Reasons Behind the Development
Interestingly, the boom and bust in Neolithic monuments is linked to certain changes within the economic sphere, which are more or less correlated. The increase in land openings and its decrease could be associated with the megalithic boom, which followed some generations later then the first impact of the new economy. The quantity of produced and deposited artefacts increased and decreased in a similar manner. If we associate certain objects with a prestigious value (e.g. the few axes), an increase and decrease in a similar way is also detectable.
As the cultural development is comparable with the economic one, gaining prestige within TRB societies seems to be associated with economic activities. Land openings are detectable some generations earlier than the boom of the other factors. Accordingly, the changes and success within the broadening of the subsistence economy is obviously responsible for social success of the cooperative groups. As already described, most of the people were buried within megaliths. The cooperative character of these monuments is expressed in the de-individualisation of the individuals in the chamber. Becoming an ancestor is linked to the collectivism within the burial right. Moreover, the causewayed enclosures do not display any sign of the demarcation of individual social power; instead the cooperation through festivities seems to be associated with the ritual character of these sites. Within the known settlements, no pronounced differences are detectable between houses and their inventories. Even individuals who are buried inside or outside villages in individual graves do not display an accumulation of surplus. They are used by the communities for social events and the expression of the social group as a whole.
The productivity of these societies could be explained by its acephalous character. Monuments of TRB societies were created and constructed to keep the communities in balance. Insofar as we would label the TRB societies as such, sharing as a societal principle is clearly developed and also responsible for the still visible productivity of TRB communities. These signatures of sharing practices are still visible within our current landscapes and thus signalise structural values which are not necessarily restricted to past societies of balance.
Acknowledgment: The SPP1400 was financed by the German Research Foundation. The insights into the near Neolithic past would not have been possible without the tremendous teamwork of many technicians, students and scholars, especially Jan Piet Brozio, Hauke Dibbern, Walter Dörfler, Stephan Dreibrodt, Martin Furholt, Barbara Fritsch (Heritage Sachsen-Anhalt) Franziska Hage, Sönke Hartz, Martin Hinz, Ben Krause-Kyora, Wiebke Kirleis, Stephanie Kloos, Moritz Mennenga, Almut Nebel, Knut Rassmann (RGK Frankfurt), Christoph Rinne, Kay Schmütz, Mara Weinelt, Maria Wunderlich from Kiel University.
Johannes Müller (PhD, University of Freiburg, 1990) is a Professor and Director of the Institute for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology at Kiel University, Germany. He is the founding director of the Johanna Mestorf Academy (https://www.jma.uni-kiel.de/en), Speaker of the Collaborative Research Centre “Scales of Transformation: Human-environmental Interaction in Prehistoric and Archaic Societies” (https://www.sfb1266.uni-kiel.de/en) and of the Excellence Cluster “ROOTS – Social, Environmental, and Cultural Connectivity in Past Societies” (https://www.cluster-roots.uni-kiel.de/en). He conducts research on Neolithic and Bronze Age Europe, including the challenge of interlinking natural, social, life sciences, and the humanities within an anthropological approach of archaeology. Intensive fieldwork was and is carried out in international teams, e.g., on Tripolye mega-sites in Eastern Europa, the Late Neolithic tell site of Okolište in Bosnia-Hercegovina, different Neolithic domestic and burial sites in Northern Germany, and Early Bronze Age sites in Greater Poland. Ethnoarchaeological fieldwork has been conducted, e.g., in India. Within the Kiel Graduate School “Human Development in Landscapes”, now the Young Academy of ROOTS, and the Scandinavian Graduate School “Dialogues of the Past”, Johannes Müller promotes international PhD projects.