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Dating the Dead: a High-Resolution Radiocarbon Chronology of Burial Within an Early Bronze Age Barrow Cemetery at Over, Cambridgeshire

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 April 2014

Duncan Garrow
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology, University of Reading, Whiteknights Box 227, Reading RG6 6AB Email: d.j.garrow@reading.ac.uk
John Meadows
Affiliation:
Zentrum für Baltische und Skandinavische Archäologie, Stiftung Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesmuseen Schloss Gottorf, 24837 Schleswig, Germany Email: jmeadows@leibniz.uni-kiel.de
Christopher Evans
Affiliation:
Cambridge Archaeological Unit, Department of Archaeology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ Email: cje30@cam.ac.uk; jlt42@cam.ac.uk
Jonathan Tabor
Affiliation:
Cambridge Archaeological Unit, Department of Archaeology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ Email: cje30@cam.ac.uk; jlt42@cam.ac.uk

Abstract

This paper outlines the results of a programme of radiocarbon dating and Bayesian modelling relating to an Early Bronze Age barrow cemetery at Over, Cambridgeshire. In total, 43 dates were obtained, enabling the first high-resolution independent chronology (relating to both burial and architectural events) to be constructed for a site of this kind. The results suggest that the three main turf-mound barrows were probably constructed and used successively rather than simultaneously, that the shift from inhumation to cremation seen on the site was not a straightforward progression, and that the four main ‘types’ of cremation burial in evidence were used throughout the life of the site. Overall, variability in terms of burial practice appears to have been a key feature of the site. The paper also considers the light that the fine-grained chronology developed can shed on recent much wider discussions of memory and time within Early Bronze Age barrows

Résumé

Dater les morts: une chronologie au 14C à haute résolution d'inhumations d'une nécropole à tertres de l’âge du bronze ancien à Over, Cambridgeshire, de Duncan Garrow, John Meadows, Christopher Evans et Jonathan Tabor

Cet article résume les résultats d'un programme de datation au C14 et de modélisation bayésienne ayant trait à une nécropole à tertres de l’âge du bronze ancien à Over, Cambridgeshire. Au total, on a obtenu 43 dates, ce qui a permis d’établir la première chronologie à haute résolution indépendante (concernant à la fois les gestes funéraires et architecturaux) pour un site de cette sorte. Les résultats donnent à penser que les trois principales sépultures à tertres herbeux avaient probablement été construites et utilisées successivement plutôt que simultanément, que le passage d'inhumation à crémation constaté sur le site n'avait pas été une simple progression, et que les quatre principaux ‘types’ de crémation en présence avaient été en usage tout au long de la vie du site. Surtout, la variabilité en matière de pratiques funéraires semble avoir été un facteur clé du site. L'article examine également comment la chronologie minutieuse qui a été développée peut éclairer de récentes discussions beaucoup plus générales sur la mémoire et le temps dans les tertres du début de l’âge du bronze

Zussamenfassung

Die Toten datieren: Eine hochauflösende Radiokarbonchronologie von Bestattungen eines Hügelgräberfelds der Frühbronzezeit von Over, Cambridgeshire, von Duncan Garrow, John Meadows, Christopher Evans und Jonathan Tabor

Dieser Beitrag stellt die Ergebnisse eines Forschungsprogramms zur Radiokarbondatierung und Bayes'schen Modellierung eines frühbronzezeitlichen Hügelgräberfelds bei Over, Cambridgeshire, vor. Insgesamt wurden 43 Datierungen gewonnen, die die erste hochauflösende Chronologie, unabhängig sowohl von Bestattungs- wie von architektonischem Geschehen, ermöglichen, die für einen derartigen Fundplatz erstellt werden konnte. Die Ergebnisse legen nahe, dass die drei größten Erdhügel wahrscheinlich nicht gleichzeitig, sondern sukzessive erbaut und genutzt wurden; dass der auf dem Gräberfeld zu beobachtende Wandel von Körper- zu Brandbestattungen kein geradlinig verlaufender Fortgang war, und dass die vier wichtigsten feststellbaren “Typen” von Brandbestattungen während der gesamten Nutzungsdauer des Fundplatzes angewandt wurden. Der Beitrag erörtert auch, welches Licht die feinkörnige Chronologie, die hier erstellt wurde, auf die jüngsten und weit grundsätzlicheren Diskussionen zu Gedächtnis und Zeit im Rahmen frühbronzezeitlicher Grabhügel werfen kann

Resumen

Datación de los muerte: cronología radiocarbónica de alta resolución de enterramiento en un cementerio tumular del Bronce Inicial en Over, Cambridgeshire, por Duncan Garrow, John Meadows, Christopher Evans and Jonathan Tabor

Este artículo presenta los resultados de un programa de datación radiocarbónica y modelización bayesiana llevado a cabo un cementerio tumular de la Edad del Bronce Inicial en Over, Cambridgeshire. En total se han obtenido 43 dataciones, que permiten la elaboración de la primera cronología independiente de alta resolución independiente (relacionada tanto con los enterramientos como con los eventos arquitectónicos) et en un sitio de este tipo. Los resultados sugieren que, más que simultáneamente, los tres túmulos de tierra principales probablemente fueron construidos y utilizados de forma sucesiva, que el paso de la inhumación a la cremación observado en el sitio no supuso una progresión directa, y que los cuatro “tipos” principales de cremación fueron utilizados a lo largo de todo el período de actividad del sitio. En este artículo se considera también la contribución que una cronología precisa puede aportar a las discusiones actuales mucho más profundas sobre la memoria y el tiempo en el seno de los túmulos del Bronce Inicial

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Prehistoric Society 2014 

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Dating the Dead: a High-Resolution Radiocarbon Chronology of Burial Within an Early Bronze Age Barrow Cemetery at Over, Cambridgeshire
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