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We want to understand monuments and monumentality, the construction and use of which defined the ways by which people in the Neolithic came together, bonded and identified themselves at different temporal and spatial scales. Our project will provide new data and interpretations drawing on the research agenda developed in ScARF. It will bring together and challenge a diverse network of leading specialists in the fields of archaeology, the sciences, heritage management and conservation, community engagement and the arts to rethink the social, cosmological, economic, material, environmental and chronological contexts for monumentality in Neolithic Scotland. It will develop new ways to improve access and engagement with the rich archaeological and environmental resource from this period. A multi-disciplinary approach to the concept of monumentality will promote creative and innovative ways of addressing four major research questions.

These big questions on the project are deceptively simple:

  1. Who built the monuments and where did they come from?
  2. Why did monumentality arise and why did the concept vary at different places and times?
  3. Where, how and when were monuments built, used and perceived by the people who built them and others, coming after, who re-used them?
  4. How do we best present monuments and the ideas behind them to people today?

The first three questions relate to understanding more about prehistory, developing knowledge and applying new technologies and techniques, specifically concerned with monuments as avenues to understand the Neolithic as a key period in Scotland’s past. This work will be organised around new field investigations in Scotland and the re-examination of existing data and records. The fourth question revolves around community engagement and the critical issue of the presentation of the past in the present so that its social and cultural value and potential economic impact can be appreciated.

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