Anthropomorphic stone stelae of monumental dimensions dated to the 4th and 3rd millennia BC have been found in southern Europe between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caucasus. They are understood as symbolic human representations the size of which arises out of a new self-awareness of humankind in the world. Anthropomorphic stelae are one of many innovations appearing during this epoch. Other innovations are copper metallurgy and tools, in particular weapons and jewellery, as well as the wheel, the wagon, and the plough drawn by animals. These innovations are depicted on stelae; what is more, the stele itself is an innovation in which the other changes are bundled. Comparable stylistic features of stelae in different areas demonstrate far-reaching contacts. Often the origin of anthropomorphic stelae is seen in the Russian steppes, with the archaeogenetically proven migration from east to west being the cause for the building of stelae in central and western Europe. However, the oldest known stelae apparently originate in western Europe. The impulses behind the dissemination of innovations must have emanated from continuous exchange relations, but the migration in the 3rd millennium bce did not bring with it the idea itself of anthropomorphic stelae. Nowadays the question about the function of stelae is usually answered with the representation of ancestors. When anthropomorphic stones keep the memory of common roots alive, they serve the building of identity.