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date: 20 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys burial practices across Iron Age Europe, working outwards from the Circum-Alpine zone. During this period, only a fraction of the population was formally buried, in varying proportions over time and space. These were generally members of the political, economic, and religious elite, as is most clear in the case of richly furnished and monumental graves. Among communities of equivalent political complexity, however, some practised more modest burial, lacking clear status differentiation in their graves. Funerary practices carry ideological messages about how communities wish to appear, symbolically materializing the relations of the social group with the land on which they live and perpetuating the memory of certain people in the consciousness of the survivors. The social significance of Iron Age mortuary practices is examined: detailed analysis of differences between graves and cemeteries provides a wealth of information ranging from individual social relationships to economic and political organization.

Keywords: mortuary rite, ideology, monument, social relations, cemetery, princely burial, exchange, prestige imports, network, wealth

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