Burial taphonomy and megalithic ritual practices in Iberia: the Panoría cemetery

Vílchez Suárez, Miriam; Aranda Jiménez, Gonzalo; Díaz‑Zorita Bonilla, Marta; Robles Carrasco, Sonia;Sánchez Romero, Margarita; Milesi García, Lara; Esquivel Sánchez, Francisco Javier
Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences (2023) 15:18 https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-023-01716-5
Publicado el 24/1/23


Our ability to build precise narratives regarding megalithic funerary rituals largely depends on an accurate understanding of bone assemblage formation. The cemetery of Panoría ofers an excellent opportunity for exploring the ritual variability through the study of funerary taphonomy, as four of the nine recently excavated dolmens are remarkably well-preserved. Based on a multi-proxy approach that includes the contextual archaeological features, skeletal preservation and representation indexes, taphonomic processes, and radiocarbon chronology, three main ritual practices can be outlined:

(i) primary sequential inhumations followed by the diferential in situ decomposition of skeletal remains;

(ii) the selective removal of crania and long bones;

(iii) the curation of subadult crania and probably long bones. The use-life of tombs, the intensity of mortuary depositions, and the intentional protection of specifc bones appear as key aspects for understanding the variability in bone assemblage formation.


Megalithic societies · Burial taphonomy · Funerary ritual · Radiocarbon chronology · Iberian Peninsula

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