School of History, Classics and Archaeology


Early Bronze Age Mortuary Practices in Northeast England

This project examines the evidence for Chalcolithic (or Terminal Neolithic) and Early Bronze Age mortuary practices in Northeast England (c. 2450-1500 BC) using the records of mortuary deposits from nineteenth and twentieth century AD excavations.

This research involves the acquisition and analysis of detailed contextual information on 355 mortuary deposits from 150 different sites in the region: a database of this information will be made available via the Archaeology Data Service website in 2013.

This research also instigated the osetological assessment or re-assessment of human remains from the period currently curated by Tyne and Wear Museums, and radiocarbon dating of selected remains from those collections.

In carrying out the first synthesis of Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age burial practices in the region, the project examines uses of material culture in mortuary practices, the treatments of the body, the nature and use of the mortuary features, the nature and emergence of sites where mortuary deposits appear, and the landscapes in which these are situated.

It presents interpretations of changing strategies in the treatment of the dead, attitudes towards death and identity, and understandings of place and cosmology in the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age.

The results of this research project will be presented in several publications, including a monograph reflecting on the process of archaeological synthesis and interpretation by exploring this research and its findings in detail (C. Fowler, in press, The Emergent Past: A Relational Realist Archaeology of Early Bronze Age Mortuary Practices. Oxford University Press).