Temporality, structure and environment

in Neolithic cave burials
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This concluding chapter starts by restating the importance of the intermediary period as a key to understanding funerary practice. The agency of bodies, objects and caves is central to how we understand this intermediary period. The temporality of the intermediary period is shown to be constituted by physical indices of change. This is explored by contrasting the temporality of secondary burial rites with the temporality of successive inhumation in both caves and cairns. The agency of caves is examined through studies of cave orientation and of the way that tufa and pre-existing middens act as both indices and agents of change in burials. The chapter concludes by integrating many of these approaches in two case studies of relational landscapes of Neolithic cave burial in South Wales and North Yorkshire. It is concluded that the material narratives of change around cave burial in the Neolithic led to the development of a specific rite of cave burial after around 3300 BC.

Neolithic cave burials

Agency, structure and environment



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