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Culture, tradition and the settlement burials of the Linearbandkeramik (LBK) culture

Hofmann, Daniela and Bickle, Penelope 2011. Culture, tradition and the settlement burials of the Linearbandkeramik (LBK) culture. Roberts, B. W. and Vander Linden, M., eds. Investigating Archaeological Cultures: material culture, variability and transmission, New York: Springer, pp. 183-200. (10.1007/978-1-4419-6970-5_9)

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This paper argues for a change in how the concept of culture is perceived in prehistoric European archaeology. Rather than as a set of prescriptive and fixed norms, culture should be related back to the daily practice of actual communities, its prime context of reproduction. In this view, culture is an enabling medium, not a restrictive codex. We illustrate this point by comparing burial practices in settlements of the Neolithic LBK culture (ca. 5600–4900 cal bc) in Lower Bavaria and the Paris Basin. Instead of evaluating these burial episodes by how well or poorly they correspond to long-established research expectations, which were focused on defining LBK-wide “cultural norms”, we foreground the performative aspects of burial and trace the establishment of micro-traditions at specific sites. This shows that the most challenging questions connected with using the concept of culture in prehistory lie in the way in which it is enmeshed in and lends a basic framework to action at a variety of social scales, without ultimately determining its outcome.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9781441969699
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Last Modified: 17 Jun 2017 06:04

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