The buildings of the megalithic culture are among the most important relics of European cultural history. The aim of the international association “Megalithic Routes e.V.” is to preserve and maintain the surviving architectural relics and make them known and accessible to the general public.
The buildings of the megalithic culture owe their attractiveness and outstanding cultural historical importance
1. to their remarkable age of 5,000 to 5,500 years. This makes them the oldest cultural monuments surviving above ground in Europe.
2. to their impressive size which bears witness to an extraordinary cooperative effort, given the technological means available more than 5,000 years ago.
3. to their numerous and widespread distribution across an area from the Mediterranean to the North Atlantic, which points to a shared intellectual and religious world in large parts of present-day Europe.
4. to their enigmatic architectural design, suggesting that many functions may have existed in connection with ritual acts and duties.
To improve public relations on the subject of megalithic culture, the association “Megalithic Routes e.V.” supports existing institutions linked to museums, cultural landscape conservation, schools and tourism projects in so far as these aim to impart knowledge about the megalithic culture. The association aims to cooperate with many such institutions to carry out its own projects.
Special attention is to be given to public relations work at the original locations of the megalithic culture. Initially, the aim is to improve the accessibility and outward appearance of the megalithic monuments. Subsequently, it is planned to connect various locations to offer visitors various routes to the megalithic culture (“Megalithic Routes”). The routes should be accessible by motor-driven vehicles, keeping in mind the concept of eco-friendly and sustainable tourism. In this respect, the “Route of Megalithic Culture” in northwestern Germany sets an example as a touristic holiday route, combining different ways of travel and transportation.
The origin and spread of megalithic culture marks one of the major communal cultural achievements in Europe. It exhibits a great many features that bear witness to the enormous attraction it must have exerted on the Neolithic population. Despite similar basic characteristics which reveal the adoption of the “megalithic idea” by the different population groups, numerous possibilities remain for a differentiating approach to the reconstruction of the everyday culture of that time in the various areas of distribution. Against this background, the foremost research tasks include questions about
• the origin and spread of the “megalithic idea”, perhaps as a result of missionisation, migration or social conflicts
either as trigger or consequence of the megalithic culture
• the stage of development relating to the economic, technological, social and cultural foundations of the megalithic
population in the different areas of distribution
• the technical methods of transport and construction used in the building of megalithic monuments
• the intellectual and religious motives for the building and original purpose of megalithic monuments
• a probable use of megalithic buildings unrelated to burial practices such as serving astronomical and calendrical purposes
• a social differentiation based on the different kinds of usage or architectural characterics of megalithic buildings in a
• the physiographic conditions of the origin of megalithic structures
• the reasons for the withdrawal of the megalithic population
The clarification of this and many more research questions should, in principle, be left to the European universities and other scientific research institutions. The association Megalithic Routes e.V. wants to contribute to drawing more attention to these questions and motivate existing research institutions to give greater priority to them in their research programmes. In this connection, the association Megalithic Routes e.V. emphasises the importance of supporting interdisciplinary research projects and is willing to contribute to establishing the necessary contacts. For this purpose, it has set up a scientific advisory council whose members represent various scientific disciplines.