Deep time

in Neolithic cave burials
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This chapter reviews the more standardised cave burial practices which appear to have developed after around 3300 BC. All the burials from Middle Neolithic caves where a rite can be reconstructed were successive inhumations. At this date, there is also a trend towards burial further into the cave system. This may point to the development of a burial rite which was specifically tied to the use of caves. By the Late Neolithic, there were very low numbers of cave burials but there seems to have been a similar concern with placing burials deep in the cave systems. In both these periods, the intermediary period seems to have become something which involved the agency of caves and dead bodies but not of living people. In the Beaker period, there are also low numbers of burials but there seems to be both more input from living people and more similarity to other kinds of Beaker burial site.

Neolithic cave burials

Agency, structure and environment



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