image/svg+xml119XI/1/2020INTERDISCIPLINARIA ARCHAEOLOGICANATURAL SCIENCES IN ARCHAEOLOGYhomepage: http://www.iansa.euBook reviewsVolume XI ● Issue 1/2020 ● Pages 119–120Big Men or Chiefs? Rondel Builders of Neolithic EuropeJaroslav Řídký, Petr Květina, Petr Limburský, Markéta Končelová, Pavel Burgert, Radka Šumberová.Oxbow Books, Oxford (2018), 208 pp., ISBN 9781789250268.rondels and the socio-political strategies in the Neolithic. Each subsequent chapter gradually expands the point of view and complements the information obtained by the reader in previous chapters.Without more ado, let’s look at the structure of the book in more detail.The frst chapter by Jaroslav Řídký defnes both the temporal and spatial axis of interest of the book’s authors. It presents the focal characteristics of the issue, as the authors perceive it, but also the way the authors chose to approach the issue and present it to the reader.In the second chapter, Petr Květina and Jaroslav Řídký describe various typologies of archaic societies from the anthropological point of view; not least of which, the ways in which the individual types of archaic society manifest themselves in their material culture: especially in how this is refected in the social and political organization of these archaic societies. This anthropological framework should serve as a basis for comparison with the Neolithic archaeological record, while, at the same time, attempt to reveal the social organization of these Neolithic societies.With the third chapter Jaroslav Řídký acquaints the reader with current theories concerning the origin, spread and function of the rondels themselves.Building on this, in the next chapter, Jaroslav Řídký introduces the reader to a basic database that contains more than 150 rondels with a wide range of described attributes, providing much data for the interpretation of rondels and related phenomena. The chapter also includes a summary of the feld methodology used in the various cases and what kind of data this methodology is able to provide.In the ffth chapter, Jaroslav Řídký, Markéta Končelová, Radka Šumberová and Pavel Burgert present several selected excavated rondels in central Europe – and illustrate how the defned indicators of social and power strategies manifest themselves in such settlements with rondels.The next chapter by Jaroslav Řídký introduces the types of rondels that appear in central Europe; the chapter also summarizes the theories about their original appearance. For example, the design of wooden structures within the space defned by ditches (from individual palisades to more complex roofed buildings with clay-stained walls) is discussed. Furthermore, the question of the presence of the bank lining the ditches is discussed. In the past there were many opinions among researchers about its existence, or its form and location. The authors give several examples of excavations from recent years, where the excavation methods used allowed this question to be solved in more detail: the results consistently point to the bank’s existence in close proximity to the ditches, perhaps on their outer side. Thanks to the extensive database and its analysis, we can learn about the links between certain visual properties (number of entrances, etc.) and their size, or the relationship of individual types of rondels to particular regions. The chapter also introduces the methodology of the rondels’ construction and the theory of their duration. The answer to the question of the rondels’ purpose is also attempted, as well as to reveal the image of the society that built the rondels.The following chapter, written by Petr Limburský, Jaroslav Řídký, Radka Šumberová and Markéta Končelová, focuses on the radiocarbon dating of rondels, its limits and problems, as well as the information it gives us about them. We learn that not only is this method not yet able to solve the question of the oldest rondels, but also, for example, that the ditches of the western group of rondels began to fll earlier than the rondels of the eastern group, a phenomenon that is still waiting for a convincing explanation.With the eighth chapter, by Jaroslav Řídký, Pavel Burgert and Markéta Končelová, the reader will learn about the broader context of rondels in the particular regions where they occur. Discussed here are the defnitions of micro-regions, the settlement network, the appearance of settlements, burials, and other facts, within which there may be traces that could reveal Since the 1960s, circular ditched enclosures, most commonly referred to as rondels, have engaged considerable research interest, both for their apparent monumental character and for the impact they could have on our knowledge of Neolithic society and its spiritual and political life.Big Man or Chiefs? Rondel Builders of Neolithic Europe is a monograph of six authors from the Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague. The team of authors was led by Jaroslav Řídký and the book published by Oxbow books (Oxford and Philadelphia) in 2018. The main theme of the book is the sociopolitical strategies of Neolithic societies in the frst half of the 5thmillennium BC and the possibility of interpreting them based on archaeological sources – mainly through these circular ditched enclosures or rondels.The book is divided into ten chapters, which gradually guide the reader through many aspects of the phenomenon of