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The Emergent PastA Relational Realist Archaeology of Early Bronze Age Mortuary Practices$
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Chris Fowler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199656370

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199656370.001.0001

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Packing and unpacking black boxes

Packing and unpacking black boxes

Pattern and diversity in Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age mortuary practices from North-East England

(p.108) 4 Packing and unpacking black boxes
The Emergent Past

Chris Fowler

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the patterns and diversity in Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age mortuary practices from North-East England. In particular, it looks at the deposition of human remains along with various artefacts and materials. By identifying artefacts and burials as belonging to certain types, the chapter reproduces inversions or packs objects into black boxes so they can circulate productively in the rest of the study. It also considers the shift from the deposition of corpses to cremation prior to deposition, along with changes in the attendant furniture and architecture of mortuary deposits resulting in different effects, experiences, and identities. In addition, it traces the chronological patterns in mortuary practices such as the continuing and changing uses of pottery, cists, graves, and pits. Finally, the chapter analyses the inclusion of flint and bronze knives and daggers with the dead from c.2200 BC and the use of burnt or burning wood at the site of deposition.

Keywords:   mortuary practices, Chalcolithic, Early Bronze Age, North-East England, human remains, artefacts, burials, corpses, cremation, pottery

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