“The site reveals the existence of unique monumental architectures, probably defensive. This demonstrates a rise in Neolithic social tensions,” said Dr. Ard.
These formidable defenses might have fallen short, though, as all the structures at Le Peu appear to have burned destroyed approximately 4400 BC. That destruction, nonetheless, aided in the site’s preservation.
Dr. Ard and his team are therefore optimistic that further research at Le Peu will continue to shed light on the lives of individuals whose only known contributions to human history are memorials. It already indicates the gigantic scale, unheard of in prehistoric Atlantic society, of their residential sites.
The earliest monumentality in Western Europe is associated with megalithic structures, but where did the builders of these monuments live? Here, the authors focus on west-central France, one of the earliest centres of megalithic building in Atlantic Europe, commencing in the mid fifth millennium BC. They report on an enclosure at Le Peu (Charente), dated to the Middle Neolithic (c. 4400 BC), and defined by a ditch with two ‘crab claw’ entrances and a double timber palisade flanked by two timber structures—possibly defensive bastions. Inside, timber buildings—currently the earliest known in the region—were possibly home to the builders of the nearby Tusson long mounds.