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date: 17 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents a materialist approach to the study of the living and the dead in later prehistoric Iberia. It begins by outlining a brief history of the study of the disposal of the dead for the period .5600–1500 cal BC, along with variations in the nature of the evidence available to archaeologists, and a critique of interpretations based on assertions of competition for ‘prestige’, ‘status’, and ‘power’ as innate human desires. The changes in the disposal of the dead in south-east Spain from the 3rd to the early 2nd millennia cal BC are studied within the context of the allocation of social labour for everyday activities, for both the living and the dead. This leads to hypotheses on the emergence of a society based on relations of class and a centralized political structure.

Keywords: south-east Spain, Argaric, intramural burial, class society, social labour

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