The Funnel Beaker Culture in Action. Early and Middle Neolithic Monumentality in Southwestern Scania, Sweden (4000-3000 cal BC)
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One of the most discussed issues in European archaeology is the significance and context of monumentality and the construction of long barrows and megaliths in the Neolithic. The construction of monuments in Neolithic Europe can, due to their often significant size and complexity, be interpreted as signs of collective building efforts, but the social and political background may vary from more egalitarian to highly stratified societies. During the last 20 years of surveys and archaeological excavations in southwest Scania, Sweden, new archaeological results have been produced, revealing many hitherto unknown settlements, central places for feasting, long barrows, megaliths, free-standing façades and other types of monumental constructions. This has disclosed a much more complex picture of the Early Neolithic (4000–3300 cal BC) Funnel Beaker Culture societies in the region. Large-scale excavations have documented a hierarchy of monumental places in Early Neolithic southern Scandinavia, probably reflecting different uses of monuments, mirroring a social hierarchy in polities. Recently, another central place has been excavated at Flackarp, south of Lund, Sweden, containing at least nine dolmens and free-standing façades, further supporting this hypothesis.