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Secondary Burial Practices in the Middle Neolithic: Causes and Consequences
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History. Arkeologi.
2003 (English)In: Current Swedish Archaeology, ISSN 1102-7355, Vol. 11, 153-170 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article stresses the increasing evidence that burial traditions were more varied in the Neolithic than is often acknowledged, especially evidence of cremations as a continuous practice throughout the period is discussed. This variation should not primarily be seen as a result of competing cosmologies, but rather as different ways of expressing a main body of thought, depending on the cultural context and the need of the community members. Rituals are seen as events where structure is not only displayed, but also created and negotiated in a dialogue with the participants. Rituals therefore have the potential to both hinder and facilitate changes taking place internally or externally. Evidence of secondary burial practices is given extra attention, most prominently in mortuary houses of eastern middle Sweden in the late Middle Neolithic, since rituals linked to this tradition have been shown to involve a wider community and put emphasis on group unity over individualism. It also grants the participants a feeling of control over death, and through this the structuration of society. By acknowledging mortuary variation often overlooked as exceptions and curiosities, we are given additional insights into prehistoric strategies and mentalities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 11, 153-170 p.
Keyword [en]
neolithic, cremation, ritual, burial practice
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-72130OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-72130DiVA: diva2:100041
Available from: 2005-05-18 Created: 2005-05-18 Last updated: 2011-01-13

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