The Idea of Order: The Circular Archetype in Prehistoric Europe

Hardcover | November 16, 2012

byRichard Bradley

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Richard Bradley investigates the idea of circular buildings - whether houses or public architecture - which, though unfamiliar in the modern West, were a feature of many parts of prehistoric Europe. Why did so many people build circular monuments? Why did they choose to live in circularhouses, when other communities rejected them? Why was it that those who preferred to inhabit a world of rectangular dwellings often buried their dead in round mounds and worshipped their gods in circular temples? Why did people who lived in roundhouses decorate their pottery and metalwork withrectilinear motifs, and why was it that the inhabitants of longhouses placed so much emphasis on curvilinear designs? Although their distinctive character has engaged the interest of alternative archaeologists, the significance of circular structures has rarely been discussed in a rigorous manner. The Idea of Order uses archaeological evidence, combined with insights from anthropology, to investigate the creation,use, and ultimate demise of circular architecture in prehistoric Europe. Concerned mainly with the prehistoric period from the origins of farming to the early first millennium AD, but extending to the medieval period, the volume considers the role of circular features from Turkey to the IberianPeninsula and from Sardinia through Central Europe to Sweden. It places emphasis on the Western Mediterranean and the Atlantic coastline, where circular dwellings were particularly important, and discusses the significance of prehistoric enclosures, fortifications, and burial mounds in regions wherelonghouse structures were dominant.

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Richard Bradley investigates the idea of circular buildings - whether houses or public architecture - which, though unfamiliar in the modern West, were a feature of many parts of prehistoric Europe. Why did so many people build circular monuments? Why did they choose to live in circularhouses, when other communities rejected them? Why ...

Richard Bradley is Professor in Archaeology at the University of Reading, where he has been a member of staff since 1971. He has undertaken research on most periods of prehistory, with a special emphasis on the archaeology of the British Isles, the Iberian Peninsula, and South Scandinavia. His main concerns are with the interpretation ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:November 16, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199608091

ISBN - 13:9780199608096

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Table of Contents

PrefaceList of FiguresPart One: Times and Spaces1. The Circular Ruins2. Conceptions and Perceptions3. Life and ArtPart Two: Circular Structures in a Circular World4. Houses into Tombs5. Turning to Stone6. The Enormous RoomPart Three: Circular Structures in a Rectilinear World7. Significant Forms8. The Atrraction of Opposites9. The New OrderSumming Up10. From Centre to CircumferenceBibliographyIndex