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By Dennis Harding

Archaeologists have lengthy said the absence of a customary and recurrent burial ceremony within the British Iron Age, and feature appeared to rites comparable to cremation and scattering of continues to be to give an explanation for the reduced impact of funerary practices at the archaeological list. Pit-burials or the deposit of disarticulated bones in settlements were disregarded as informal disposal or the continues to be of social outcasts. In loss of life and Read more...

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during this quantity, Harding examines the deposition of Iron Age human and animal continues to be in Britain and demanding situations the belief that there must have been any standard type of cemetery in prehistory, Read more...

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This might certainly be argued where, for example, a sword is bent double, or ritually destroyed, when deposited in the grave. It is possible that other items were likewise decommissioned on burial, though it may be difficult to distinguish damage deliberately inflicted at time of deposit from damage incurred over time or in the process of discovery. Whole and intact pottery vessels, for example, may easily have been broken through taphonomic effects over time, but where near-complete vessels are found missing some fragments this may not always have resulted from the incompetence of excavators.

That remains a legitimate line of enquiry, but we should also recognize the probability that funerary practice was more diverse than hitherto has been supposed, with the implication that Iron Age religious and philosophical beliefs did not envisage a simplistic division between the world of the living and an otherworld of the dead. A critical review of the archaeological evidence for the disposal of the dead may amplify our understanding of these issues. OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 14/10/2015, SPi 2 Mortuary practices, problems, and analysis Archaeological investigation is sometimes likened to opening a window on to the past.

2007. enclosure allowed the prospect that its function might be clarified by more than selective sampling. For the purposes of the present discussion, it is the second phase of use of the site, around 400 BC to 200 BC but post-dating the phase that was dominated by four-posters, that is especially informative. Extending down the west side of the main enclosure in this phase was a series of a dozen small ditched enclosures (Fig. 1), ranging from around 3 to 6 metres across, sub-circular or sub-rectangular in outline, and including examples with central division, the purpose of which was unclear.

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