Is It Just the Location? Visibility Analyses of the West Pomeranian Megaliths of the Funnel Beaker Culture
The article attempts to apply visibility analyses to megalithic tombs of the Funnel Beaker Culture in the Pyrzyce Plain in north-western Poland. The analyses were carried out on 23 megalithic monuments in order to answer the questions whether the sites chosen by the builders of the Funnel Beaker Culture for the construction of their monumental megalithic tombs were optimal in terms of visibility and whether there is evidence that the megalithic cemeteries may have been constructed with the aim of establishing visual contact with each other and between settlements. Visibility analyses were carried out on a hypothetical landscape model that did not include flora such as forests, grasses or other obstacles in the terrain other than relief, in order to simulate an “open” landscape type. The estimation of parameters such as the visibility and discernibility of megalithic tombs proved that the builders of the Funnel Beaker Culture may indeed have chosen terrain-exposed sites for megaliths. However, other sites have been found that seem to be much more optimal in terms of visibility and terrain exposure than the present ones. Visibility analyses of megalithic cemeteries among themselves did not reveal significant “chains” of visual connections, even though they were located in exposed landscape areas. Investigations of the visual connections between megalithic cemeteries and known settlements of the Funnel Beaker Culture suggested possible visual contacts. The results of these analyses might suggest that a visual connection between cemeteries and settlements could be crucial for the megalithic builders, while it could be almost completely irrelevant between cemeteries.
Keywords: megalithic tombs; visibility analysis; Funnel Beaker Culture; West Pomerania