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Bridlington Boulevard Revisited: New Insights into Pit and Post-hole Cremations in Neolithic Britain

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Peer-reviewed

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Type

Article

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Abstract

jats:pThe majority of excavated human remains from Neolithic Britain emanate from monumental sites. However, it is increasingly recognized that multiple funerary practices are often attested within these monuments, and that diverse treatment of the dead is evident contemporaneously at non-monumental sites. In this paper, we highlight such variation in non-monumental funerary practices in Neolithic Britain (jats:italicc.</jats:italic> 4000–2500 jats:scbc</jats:sc>) through the biographical study of an assemblage from a large post-hole at Bridlington Boulevard, Yorkshire. Through osteological and taphonomic analysis of the human bones and technological and microwear analysis of the accompanying axehead, we infer complex funerary processes, with the expediently manufactured axehead potentially featuring in the funerary rites and subsequent post-raising before being deposited in the feature. Bridlington Boulevard represents one element of a varied funerary complex—cremations in pits and post-holes—at a time when most individuals were not deposited in monuments, or indeed were not deposited at all. Compiling these non-monumental cremations across Britain causes us to look beyond categorizing these assemblages as funerary contexts, and instead suggests important cosmological associations and forces were brought together in pit and post-and-human cremation deposits.</jats:p>

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Keywords

4301 Archaeology, 4303 Historical Studies, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology

Journal Title

Cambridge Archaeological Journal

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

0959-7743
1474-0540

Volume Title

Publisher

Cambridge University Press (CUP)