From the Neolithic to the onset of Christianity, European funeral rites included both cremation and inhumation. Although commonly discussed in archaeology and anthropology, the reasons why some individuals were cremated while others were inhumed remain largely unknown. This project aims to shed new lights on this Pan-European phenomenon.
This research focuses on some of the most iconic Slovenian Bronze and Iron Age burial grounds, where both funerary customs cooccurred, either simultaneously or interchangeably. This is extremely rare and represents a unique opportunity for a large-scale comparative investigation. State of the art analytical techniques including isotope analyses, LIDAR and computed tomography, are applied to provide a better understanding of these prehistoric societies, currently limited mostly to archaeological data, material culture and basic osteology.
This approach allows a deeper investigation into the changes of funerary rituals over time and space, how, and most importantly, why they occurred. The newly obtained results establish a baseline for future research into the changes of funerary rituals of ancient Europeans. As most research to date has focused on Northern and part of Western Europe, broadening the research to Slovenia is strategic. Due to its geographical location, Slovenia represents an important gateway between SE and Central Europe, which has proven to be a cultural nodal point since prehistoric periods.
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