This volume offers new insights into the radical shift in attitudes towards death and the dead body that occurred in temperate Bronze Age Europe. Exploring the introduction and eventual dominance of cremation, Marie-Louise Stig Sørenson and Katharina Rebay-Salisbury apply a case-study approach to investigate how this transformation unfolded within local communities located throughout central to northern Europe. They demonstrate the deep link between the living and the dead body, and propose that the introduction of cremation was a significant ontological challenge to traditional ideas about death. In tracing the responses to this challenge, the authors focus on three fields of action: the treatment of the dead body, the construction of a burial place, and ongoing relationships with the dead body after burial. Interrogating cultural change at its most fundamental level, the authors elucidate the fundamental tension between openness towards the 'new' and the conservative pull of the familiar and traditional.
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