Bristol and Avon Archaeological Society

Changing concepts of the body in the British Bronze Age: The deposition of human bone in mortuary and settlement contexts

On Wednesday January 14, 2015
Dr Joanna Bruck, University of Bristol

A review of some of the more ‘unusual’ methods of disposing of the dead in the Bronze Age.  Although we think of the Bronze Age as the period in which formal burials of complete bodies in single graves became the norm, in fact there is considerable diversity in how the dead were treated. Fragments of human bone occur in settlement contexts, while in graves ‘heirloom’ pieces of bone belonging to other individuals were deposited alongside both complete and incomplete bodies. These practices suggest very different concepts of the self, the body and the afterlife to those familiar from our own cultural context.