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Megalithic genesis: construction of a cultural identity for better goods circulation

ContributorsSteimer, Taraorcid
Published inMegaliths in the World, Editors Luc Laporte, Jean-Marc Large, Laurent Nespoulous, Chris Scarre, Tara Steimer-Herbet, p. 83-91
PublisherEngland : Archaeopress
Publication date2022

Megaliths in the world, from Prehistory to history are the work of communities capable of generating, managing and commercializing merchandise. In the Near and Middle East, the appearance of tower tombs in the 4th millennium BCE is a particularly interesting example to illustrate the link between megalithism and the enrichment of communities. Several factors indicate that the pastoral economy, combined with the hunting and agriculture of the megalithic communities, contributed to the provisioning of Mesopotamian and Egyptian state entities. Installed within marginal zones, these local communities controlled strategic and commercial crossroads by using the depth of the desert space to which they were perfectly adapted. Megalithism, in this context, functions as a common cultural code. From a transactional point of view, adopting similar cultural codes from the Yemen to the Sinai, offered significant advantages. Namely, by increasing the trust capital inherent in communities adopting identical codes of conduct, the risks linked to exchanges were reduced. The construction of a common ostentatious cultural identity, such as megalithism, allowed these communities, which developed essentially thanks to merchandise transactions, to benefit from a clear augmentation of their financial and economic resources.

  • Megalithism
  • Tower-tomb
  • Exchange
  • Arabia
Citation (ISO format)
STEIMER, Tara. Megalithic genesis: construction of a cultural identity for better goods circulation. In: Megaliths in the World. England : Archaeopress, 2022. p. 83–91.
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Book chapter (Published version)
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