Cultural Continuity and Social Resistance: The Chronology of Megalithic Funerary Practices in Southern Iberia
2017. European Journal of Archaeology 20
Inspired by the biographical approach to the study of material culture, a radiocarbon dating programme was undertaken to explore the chronology and temporality of the megalithic monuments in south-eastern Iberia. Instead of one or two dates per tomb, the normal way of approaching this complex issue, we carried out a complete radiocarbon dating series of single tombs based on human remains. We focused our attention on four tholos-type tombs in the cemetery of El Barranquete (Almería, Spain). According to the new radiocarbon series modelled in a Bayesian framework, four main conclusions can be drawn: that the cemetery shows a very long period of funerary activity, which began in the late fourth millennium and ended in the last centuries of the second millennium cal BC; that continuity of ritual practices attained an unexpected importance during the Bronze Age; that interments, which fall into cultural periods that would be unthinkable if only the typological properties of the grave goods were considered, occurred; and that each tomb had a complex and very different biography.
radiocarbon dating, Bayesian modelling, funerary ritual, Copper Age, Bronze Age, Iberian Peninsula