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Unpacking burial and rank: the role of children in the first monumental cemeteries of Western Europe (4600–4300 BC)

Abstract : Examining the earliest grand mortuary monuments of the Neolithic, the authors question the assumption that they mark the resting place of society’s higher ranks. Using the skeletal remains, the grave goods and the burial rites, they find no great differences in commemoration between the monumental cemeteries, with their long barrows, and the flat graves, without structures. In this analysis, the children proved to be the most vivid players: while the very young are largely excluded, some toddlers were selected to carry hunting equipment, a distinction shared with selected adult males. Some children were also laid to rest in the long barrows, with some adults. Thus hunting has a spiritual value for these agriculturalists, and whether inherited or marked at birth, the children signal something more variable and subtle than linear rank.
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Submitted on : Monday, April 20, 2020 - 2:24:09 PM
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Aline Thomas, Philippe Chambon, Pascal Murail. Unpacking burial and rank: the role of children in the first monumental cemeteries of Western Europe (4600–4300 BC). Antiquity, Antiquity Publications/Cambridge University Press, 2011, 85 (329), pp.772-786. ⟨10.1017/S0003598X00068307⟩. ⟨mnhn-02548003⟩

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