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The Tempo of Bronze Age Barrow Use: Modeling the Ebb and Flow in Monumental Funerary Landscapes

Quentin P J Bourgeois, David R Fontijn


The thousands of Bronze Age burial mounds of northwestern Europe often have complex histories, with multiple construction phases and secondary burials added to these mounds. It can be difficult to understand the dynamic nature of these events and the ebb and flow of activities in these monumental funerary landscapes. This article presents chronological models of five Bronze Age barrows from two sites. A total of 41 radiocarbon-dated cremation burials were fitted into several chronological sequences. The results from the chronological models at both sites suggest that the creation of a burial mound was just one event within a much longer funerary history. For both sites, there are indications that the deceased were buried in flat graves decades and sometimes more than a century prior to any monument construction. Once in place, the barrows were then used as a repository for the dead for decades afterwards. At the same time, a comparison of the models suggests that funerary events at both sites were punctuated. At one site, several barrows were in use simultaneously, at the other, barrows seem to be each other’s successor. The models provide evidence for both protracted histories as well as punctuated events.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_rc.57.17925


burial mounds; monumentality; landscape archaeology

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