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Tumulus of Bougon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Plan of the Bougon complex


The Tumulus of Bougon or Necropolis of Bougon (French Tumulus de Bougon, Ncropole
de Bougon) is a group of five Neolithic barrows located in Bougon near La-Mothe-
Saint-Hray, between Exoudon and Pamproux in Poitou-Charentes, France. Their
discovery in 1840 raised great scientific interest. To protect the monuments, the
site was acquired by the department of Deux-Svres in 1873. Excavations resumed in
the late 1960s. The oldest structures of this prehistoric monument date to 4800 BC.

Contents [hide]
1 The archaeological site
1.1 Tumulus A
1.2 Tumulus B
1.2.1 Chamber B1
1.2.2 Chamber B2
1.2.3 Cists
1.3 Tumulus C
1.3.1 Earlier mound
1.3.2 Platform
1.4 Structure D
1.5 Tumulus E
1.5.1 Chamber E1
1.5.2 Chamber E2
1.6 Tumulus F
1.6.1 F0
1.6.2 F1
1.6.3 F2
1.7 Synopsis
2 Bougon Museum
3 See also
4 Bibliography
5 External links
The archaeological site[edit]
The site is located on a limestone plateau within a loop of the river Bougon. The
area used to be known as Les Chirons.

Tumulus A[edit]

Tumulus A

Tumulus A, entrance

Tumulus A, rear
The stepped mound, erected in the early 4th millennium BC, has a diameter of 42 m
and a maximum height of 5 m. Its large rectangular chamber (7.8 x 5 m, 2.25 m high)
lies south of its centre. It is connected by a non-centrally placed passage. There
is evidence that the passage was still used by the 3rd millennium BC. The chamber's
walls contain artificially shaped orthostats, the gaps were filled with dry stone
walling. The chamber is covered by a capstone which weighs 90 tons. It is supported
by two monolithic pillars, which also serve to subdivide the chamber.

During its excavation in 1840, about 200 skeletons were discovered in three layers,
separated by stone slabs. The vague reports of that early excavation prevent any
detailed chronological analysis. Accompanying finds included flat-bottomed and
round-bottomed pottery, beads, pierced teeth, chains of seashells and stone tools,
including a diorite mace. More recent excavations showed that the grave was
abandoned shortly after its construction. The passage had been blocked with a large
stone slab. At its base lay the skull of a man who had undergone three trepanations
during his lifetime. Pottery was also found in front of the monument's facade,
suggesting that cult activities, entailing the deposition of pottery, took place
after its closure. About 1,000 years later, the monument was re-used for more
burials by people of a different culture who reached the passage from above.

Tumulus B[edit]

Tumulus B
Tumulus B is a long mound, 36 m long and 8 m wide. It has four chambers. Two of
them are very small cists, with no access passage. The mound's west part has two
larger rectangular chambers, each accessible via a passage from the south.

Chamber B1[edit]
The chamber B1 is a small square structure, built from monolithic slabs. Such
constructions are known as dolmen angoumoisin. A 2.2 m long passage leads to a
chamber of 2 by 1.5 m, built simply from four wall slabs. One of them has a hook
carved out of its side. A fifth slab covers the chamber. Little archaeological
material was found in it, probably because it had been cleared and reused in the
3rd millennium BC.

Chamber B2[edit]
Excavation here revealed a distinctive treatment of human remains. About ten
skullcaps were found placed upside down in two rows. They were associated with
several longbones.

Cists[edit]
The cists in the east part of the mound were discovered in 1978. Set in the centre
of the mound, they were built of small stones. Both were empty, but they may
possibly be associated with a large heap of Late Neolithic pottery sherds found
nearby.

Tumulus C[edit]