A sweeping new study of megalithic monuments across Europe suggests that such burials originated in northwest France, and the practice of building them spread along the continent’s coastlines in several migratory waves.
Bettina Schulz Paulsson, an archaeologist at the University of Gothenburg, reexamined some 2,410 radiocarbon dating results that have been assigned to Europe’s megaliths and put them through a Bayesian statistical analysis. Based on the picture the data present, Schulz Paulsson believes that the megaliths were first constructed by dwellers of northwest France during the second half of the fifth millennium BC. From this single origin, her analysis suggests, the practice of constructing standing stone monuments spread during three major periods via what may have been surprisingly robust maritime travel routes.
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