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Iron Age burial in Wales: patterns, practices and problems

Davis, Oliver ORCID: 2018. Iron Age burial in Wales: patterns, practices and problems. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 37 (1) , pp. 61-97. 10.1111/ojoa.12131

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Until the latter part of the twentieth century, Iron Age burial in Britain was thought to be largely archaeologically invisible. However, over the last 40 years the recovery of large assemblages of human remains, often from pits and ditches rather than beneath monumental structures, has changed our understanding of Iron Age funerary practices. The problem, though, is that the majority of this material derives from core areas of study, particularly southern England and Yorkshire. Our knowledge of burial in the more peripheral areas of Britain, such as Wales, is much more poorly understood. The perceived paucity of burials from such regions is often still interpreted as resulting from the practice of archaeologically invisible disposal methods such as excarnation or the scattering of cremated remains. This paper presents a comprehensive review and analysis of Iron Age human remains in Wales. Although the resource for study is relatively small, a variety of practices, disposal methods and treatments of bodies can be recognized which challenge our current narratives. The scarcity of burials when compared to other parts of Britain, such as Wessex, is suggested to be a result of both poor preservation and bias in archaeological research strategies, rather than the dominance of an ‘invisible’ burial rite.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0262-5253
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 November 2017
Date of Acceptance: 2 February 2017
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2022 20:55

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