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Death and Burial in Iron Age Britain (Hardback)
  • Death and Burial in Iron Age Britain (Hardback)
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Death and Burial in Iron Age Britain (Hardback)

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£81.00
Hardback 352 Pages / Published: 05/11/2015
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Archaeologists have long acknowledged the absence of a regular and recurrent burial rite in the British Iron Age, and have looked to rites such as cremation and scattering of remains to explain the minimal impact of funerary practices on the archaeological record. Pit-burials or the deposit of disarticulated bones in settlements have been dismissed as casual disposal or the remains of social outcasts. In Death and Burial in Iron Age Britain, Harding examines the deposition of human and animal remains from the period - from whole skeletons to disarticulated fragments - and challenges the assumption that there should have been any regular form of cemetery in prehistory, arguing that the dead were more commonly integrated into settlements of the living than segregated into dedicated cemeteries. Even where cemeteries are known, they may yet represent no more than a minority of the total population, so that other forms of disposal must still have been practised. A further example of this can be found in hillforts which, in addition to domestic and agricultural settlements, evidently played an important role in funerary ritual, as secure community centres where excarnation and display of the dead may have made them a potent symbol of identity. The volume evaluates the evidence for violent death, sacrifice, and cannibalism, as well as age and gender distinctions, and associations with animal burials, and reveals that 'formal' cemetery burial or cremation was for most regions a minority practice in Britain until the eve of the Roman conquest.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199687565
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 726 g
Dimensions: 240 x 163 x 24 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
The book is primarily a work of wide and impressive synthesis, rich in description rather than radical re-interpretation. Few scholars could match Harding's shift in register from the intimate details of art symbolism to the Classical texts and the archaeological evidence, with this work, he builds on his previous four major monographs on different arenas of Iron Age life and death. * Melanie Giles, Antiquity *
The book is beautifully illustrated throughout with the author's crisply executed line drawings. It will be an essential text for anyone with a serious interest in the British Iron Age. * Ian Armit, Current Archaeology *
skilfully researched and structured ... The book draws on the ever-increasing wealth of information in the grey literature, enabling Harding to bring to fore less well known sites, and demonstrate his superb archaeological knowledge with the reinterpretation of older excavation reports. * Rebecca Redfern, British Archaeology *
It is clear, from Harding's thorough and well-presented analysis, that human remains in Iron Age Britain were a powerful resource for the living, and that the diverse and fragmented mortuary practices observed have much to tell us, not only about the Iron Age dead, but about Iron Age society at large. As such, this much-needed volume serves not only as a go-to reference guide for Iron Age mortuary practice, but as a platform for opening up new lines of inquiry into this enigmatic topic. * Lindsey Buster, Archaeological Journal *

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