Holding on to the past: Southern British evidence for mummification and retention of the dead in the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age.

Smith, M. J., Allen, M.J., Delbarre, G., Booth, T., Cheetham, P., Bailey, L., O'Malley, F., Parker Pearson, M. and Green, M., 2016. Holding on to the past: Southern British evidence for mummification and retention of the dead in the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.05.034

Abstract

Recent treatments of burial practices in prehistoric Europe have tended to emphasise the variety of practices that are apparent in any given period; contra previous views which tended to emphasise homogeneity over time. In the spirit of more recent considerations that emphasise amore holistic approach, the current article presents investigations of human remains interred within and around a single monument at Cranborne Chase, Dorset, UK. By taking a synthetic approach giving equal weight to taphonomy, archaeothanatology, histological analysis, scanning electron microscopy, micro-CT scanning, experimentation and contextual dating, a more nuanced picture has been revealed, where the deadwere dealt with inways that were bothmore complex and considerably more protracted than might otherwise be assumed. In particular, several lines of evidence point to practices aimed at the protracted curation of the dead as articulated bodies with at least some soft tissue persisting. This observation is of particular importance in light of previously published claims for ‘mummification’ in Bronze Age Britain. It suggests that such practices may have been both widespread and persistent over time.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:2352-409X
Additional Information:Mummification; Curation; Bronze Age; Chalcolithic; Micro-CT; SEM; Experimentation
Subjects:UNSPECIFIED
Group:Faculty of Science and Technology
ID Code:24362
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:13 Jul 2016 11:47
Last Modified:13 Jul 2016 11:56

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