Why Keep the Old Dead Around?

Bringing Together Theory and Method in the Study of Human Remains from Balkan (E)Neolithic Settlements

  • Alexandra Ion Romanian Academy, Institute of Anthropology 'Francisc I. Rainer', Bucharest, Romania
Keywords: Neolithic, human remains, funerary, assemblage, settlement


The aim of this article is to focus on the ways in which communities imagined their relationship with the dead throughout the Balkan area during the Neolithic and Eneolithic (6200–3800 cal BC). My claim is that we should go beyond seeing the human remains discovered in settlements as unusual/atypical/non-funerary discoveries. Instead, they can be read as traces of complex funerary practices, which contributed to the creation and manipulation of collective identities. The dead became part of a place-making strategy, they fixed time and become central to certain kinds of assemblages, which in turn were meant to create more powerful ancestors who could intervene in the present.


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How to Cite
IonA. (2020). Why Keep the Old Dead Around?. Documenta Praehistorica, 47, 348-372. https://doi.org/10.4312/dp.47.19