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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides a brief overview of archaeological evidence for burial and the body in the Central and Western Mediterranean between the sixth and third millennia BC. Burial traditions are immensely varied. In some places, the norm was single burial around villages, but this formed part of a large repertory of alternative practices for dealing with the dead. From the fourth millennium onwards, there was a widespread shift towards multiple burial in collective tombs and megalithic monuments. Evidence for the body in life comes from representations in art. The Central Mediterranean shared the Eastern Mediterranean Neolithic tradition of making small figurines, mostly of women and mostly in clay. Human representations in Neolithic Iberia are much more varied, including small figurines and a dramatic range of Levantine cave paintings and Megalithic art. Human representations show a widespread change from the mid-third millennium, with the innovation of statue-stele or statue-menhirs; these reveal a new gender iconography and a widespread aesthetic of surfaces of display, related to political developments.

Keywords: Gender, burial, art, statue-stele, figurines

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