Archaeological news about the Archaeology of Early Medieval Europe from the Archaeology in Europe web site
Thursday, 21 January 2016
Neolithic Megalithic Tomb in Spain Comprehensively Examined for the First Time: a Community in Life and Death
Reconstruction of the original appearance of the megalithic mound.
People of the Neolithic age around 6,000 years ago were closely connected both in life and death. This became evident in a detailed archaeological and anthropological of a collective grave containing 50 bodies near Burgos, northern Spain. In the pioneering study, researchers used a whole array of modern methods to examine the way of life in the region at that time. Published in the academic journal PLOS ONE, the research was conducted by anthropologists at the University of Basel and archaeologists from the University of Valladolid.
The collective graves of the Neolithic period were made mostly of stone and were large enough to hold many bodies in a communal space. The megalithic tomb in Alto de Reinoso, Burgos differs from this in only one respect: the burial chamber had originally been made from wood over which a stone mound was erected afterwards. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the tomb was used by a community living between 3700 and 3600 AD and spanning about three to four generations. At least 47 bodies have been found. “While the lower layer has been relatively well preserved, numerous disturbances have been observed in the upper layers such as missing skulls, which could be due to a certain kind of ancestral worship,” says Prof. Manuel Rojo Guerra, from the University of Valladolid, Spain.