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

Authors: Smith, M., Allen, M.J., Delbarre, G., Booth, T., Cheetham, P., Bailey, L., O'Malley, F., Parker Pearson, M. and Green, M.

Editors: Knusel, C. and Robb, J.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/24362/

Journal: Journal of Archaeological Science Reports

DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.05.034

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.

This data was imported from Scopus:

Authors: Smith, M.J., Allen, M.J., Delbarre, G., Booth, T., Cheetham, P., Bailey, L., O'Malley, F., Pearson, M.P. and Green, M.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/24362/

Journal: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports

Volume: 10

Pages: 744-756

ISSN: 2352-409X

DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.05.034

© 2016 Elsevier Ltd 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 a more 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 dead were dealt with in ways that were both more 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.

This data was imported from Web of Science (Lite):

Authors: Smith, M.J., Allen, M.J., Delbarre, G., Booth, T., Cheetham, P., Bailey, L., O'Malley, F., Pearson, M.P. and Green, M.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/24362/

Journal: JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE-REPORTS

Volume: 10

Pages: 744-756

ISSN: 2352-409X

DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.05.034

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