Landscape Archaeology, Paganism, and the Interpretation of Megaliths


  • Jess Beck Dept. of Anthropology, McGill University
  • Stephen Chrisomalis Dept. of Anthropology, Wayne State University



Megaliths, landscapes, archaeology, phenomenology, paganism, epistemology


Many varieties of contemporary Paganism share common methodologies and interests with the academic subfield of landscape archaeology, in particular with regard to their interpretation of megalithic architecture. While there are differences in the range of evidence considered, and the relative value placed on certain methodologies, there are more parallels than dissimilarities. In particular, reliance on intuition as a source of knowledge and a concern with reconstructing the sensory conditions of prehistoric built environments are shared. Space and place in many varieties of archaeology are viewed through a phenomenological perspective that is individual and not necessarily inter subjective. Despite the tensions between archaeologists and Pagans over access to and proper custodianship of megalithic architectural sites in Britain and elsewhere, opportunities exist for fruitful intellectual and social exchange between the two vocations.

Author Biographies

Jess Beck, Dept. of Anthropology, McGill University

Jessica Beck (B.A., McGill, 2008) is a student in the Department of Anthropology at McGill University (Montreal, Quebec). Her interests include mortuary archaeology, the Middle and Upper Paleolithic, lithics and experimental archaeology.

Stephen Chrisomalis, Dept. of Anthropology, Wayne State University

Stephen Chrisomalis (Ph.D., McGill, 2003) is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Wayne State University. His research interests include the history of anthropology and archaeology, the anthropology of pre-modern science and mathematics, and the prehistory of language and the mind.


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How to Cite

Beck, J., & Chrisomalis, S. (2009). Landscape Archaeology, Paganism, and the Interpretation of Megaliths. Pomegranate, 10(2), 142–162.