Megalithic Cultures

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Megalithic Cultures


the general designation of a series of archaeological cultures of the Aneolithic period and of the Bronze Age, a significant feature of which was the erection of megalithic structures. Some researchers suppose that the megalith builders were related tribes that initially inhabited the coastal regions of Western Europe and later settled in other areas. However, recent research refutes this. Evidently, the tradition of erecting megalithic structures spread not only through the migration of individual tribes or borrowings but also emerged independently in regions with similar social and geographic conditions (for example, it is impossible to establish direct links between the megalithic cultures of Europe and India).

Megalithic cultures of Europe in southern regions are older (2,500-2,400 B.C.) and richer than those of the north (2,000-1,400 B.C.). This may serve as proof that the tradition of building megalithic structures in Europe spread from single centers in the south northward. However, tribes that acquired this tradition differed significantly in culture from one another. The problem of megalithic cultures, on the whole, has not been sufficiently studied.


Ravdonikas, V. I. Istoriia pervobytnogo obshchestva, part 2. Leningrad, 1947.
Childe, V. G. U istokov evropeiskoi tsivilizatsii. Moscow, 1952. (Translated from English.)
Daniel, G. E. The Megalith Builders of Western Europe. New York, 1958.
Leisner, G., and V. Leisner. Die Megalithgräber der Iberischen Halbinsel der Westen, vols. 1-2. Berlin, 1956-59.
Sprockhoff, E. Die nordische Megalithkultur. Berlin-Leipzig, 1938.
Nordman, C. A. The Megalithic Culture of Northern Europe. Helsinki, 1935.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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