Neolithic Europe 3,000 years of peace
The roots of Cucuteni-Trypillian culture can be found in the Starčevo-Körös-Criș and Vinča cultures of the 6th to 5th millennia, with additional influence from the Bug-Dniester culture (6500-5000 BC). During the early period of its existence (in the 5th millennium BC), the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture was also influenced by the Linear Pottery culture from the north, and by the Boian-Giulesti culture from the south. Through colonization and acculturation from these other cultures, the formative Pre-Cucuteni/Trypillia A culture was established
The most common type of megalithic construction in Europe is the portal tomb – a chamber consisting of upright stones (orthostats) with one or more large flat capstones forming a roof. Many of these, though by no means all, contain human remains, but it is debatable whether use as burial sites was their primary function. Though generally known as dolmens, the correct term accepted by archaeologists is portal tomb. However many local names exist, such as anta in Galicia and Portugal, stazzone in Sardinia, hunebed in the Netherlands, Hünengrab in Germany, dysse in Denmark, and cromlech in Wales. It is assumed that most portal tombs were originally covered by earthen mounds.
The second-most-common tomb type is the passage grave. It normally consists of a square, circular, or cruciform chamber with a slabbed or corbelled roof, accessed by a long, straight passageway, with the whole structure covered by a circular mound of earth. Sometimes it is also surrounded by an external stone kerb. Prominent examples include the sites of Brú na Bóinne and Carrowmore in Ireland, Maes Howe in Orkney, and Gavrinis in France.
The third tomb type is a diverse group known as gallery graves. These are axially arranged chambers placed under elongated mounds. The Irish court tombs, British long barrows, and German Steinkisten belong to this group.
Another type of megalithic monument, the single standing stone, or menhir as it is known in France, is very common throughout Europe, where some 50,000 examples have been noted. Some of these are thought to have an astronomical function as a marker or foresight. In some areas, long and complex alignments of such stones exist, the largest known example being located atCarnac in Brittany, France.
In parts of Britain and Ireland a relatively common type of megalithic construction is the stone circle, of which examples includeStonehenge, Avebury, Ring of Brodgar and Beltany. These, too, display evidence of astronomical alignments, both solar and lunar. Stonehenge, for example, is famous for its solstice alignment. Examples of stone circles are also found in the rest of Europe. The circle at Lough Gur, near Limerick in Ireland has been dated to the Beaker period, approximately contemporaneous with Stonehenge. The stone circles are assumed to be of later date than the tombs, straddling the Neolithic and the Bronze Ages.