This chapter provides a novel interpretation of three major and unusual aspects of the archaeological record of South Dorset that have been much discussed in the literature but little understood: (1) the widespread presence of grey Portland chert during the later Mesolithic extending from this area across a large part of southern England; (2) the occurrence of three massive Neolithic bank barrows; (3) the construction, during the Bronze Age, of one of the densest concentrations of burial mounds in the country running linearly along a dramatic16-km stretch of chalk ridge. I argue that the meanings of these three disparate phenomena are rooted in mythological knowledges of the powers of place and metaphoric or analogic reasoning: attempts to relate to, understand, and culturally appropriate features of the ‘natural’ landscape that populations encountered on a daily basis. The use of Portland chert during the Mesolithic, the construction of bank barrows during the Neolithic, and the development of a linear barrow cemetery during the Bronze Age were all products of a dialogic encounter through which populations interpreted and reinterpreted the landscape in which they lived and incorporated earlier sets of understandings

physically objectified in monuments and topographic features, a metaphorical restructuring of social memories.