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date: 19 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Cremation as a funeral practice opens up a huge variety of uses of the dead body by descendants for different purposes in culture and cosmology. By cremating the dead at various temperatures the bones can be transported long distances and incorporated in spheres other than deposition in the grave. In prehistoric Europe, in general only 10–20% of the remains of the cremated body is buried, and the bones are found in contexts ranging from ceramics, hearths, in the fields, and in furnaces, among other places. By examining different cremation contexts in contemporary and prehistoric perspectives it is argued that cremation is not one, but many funeral practices, and the role of fire in the transformations between the different spheres has enabled descendants to use the dead as an active medium and agency in the reconstruction of culture and cosmology.

Keywords: cosmology, cremation, intermediate period, smith, temperature, transformation

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