Session: #381

Theme & Session Format

1. Widening horizons through human-environment interconnections
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Children of the Bronze Age: Connecting Europe from the Time of Bell Beakers to the Urnfield Period
During the Bronze Age important transformations of the funerary record are evident, with highly standardized rituals that spread and generalize throughout Europe. This has first been observed during the Bell Beaker period, in which despite the regional diversity, common patterns are detected, not only in the material culture but also in burial rituals. The universal character of different funerary rites endured even after the practice of cremation was introduced during the Tumulus and Urnfield periods. All these characteristics reflect intense connections between remote areas of Europe, which is proved not only by material culture but also by recent archaeogenetic data. Behind those innovations there are some crucial social, economic and ideological changes which demand an explanation.
This session explores the function that non-adult individuals would have had in these processes. The analysis of their graves permits to explore on one hand the social role of this age group in the transmission of cultural innovations and on the other hand the eventual inheritance of status during a period of incipient hierarchization. Graves are optimal contexts to analyze both aspects since the funerary behavior contributes to the creation and sustaining of social order. They also represent the perfect environment to develop political and ideological manipulations to achieve certain linage’s aspirations such as perpetuating their power. In fact, inheritance of power is one of the features of any hierarchical society and elitist non-adult graves have frequently been mentioned as some of the clearest indications of this process.
Bronze Age, Non-adults, Funerary contexts, Social hierarchization, Status inheritance
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Main organiser:
Ana Herrero-Corral (Spain) 1
Szilvia Guba (Hungary) 2
1. Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
2. Ferenc Kubinyi Museum