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barrow
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: burial mound; tumulus; burial cairn
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: A round or elongated mound of earth or stones used in early times to cover one or more burials; a grave mound. The mound is often surrounded by a ditch, and the burials may be contained within a cist, mortuary enclosure, mortuary house, or chamber tomb. There are two types, the long (elongated) and the round barrow (also known as tumuli). The former were built in the Late Stone Age, the latter in the Bronze Age, though burial under a round mound was occasionally practiced during the Roman, Anglo-Saxon, and Viking periods.. The long barrow was a tribal or family burial vault built of stone slabs, some weighing many tons, and covered with earth or stones. The large, round barrows were often communal. They are often found in prehistoric sites in Britain -- earthen (or unchambered) long barrows from the Early and Middle Neolithic (Windmill Hill Culture). Other long barrows were constructed over megalithic tombs of gallery grave types. Most of the British round barrows incorporate circles of stakes. Bowl barrows --- simple round mounds, often surrounded by a ditch --- were the most common form, used throughout the Bronze Age and sporadically also in the Iron Age. The Wessex Culture of the southern English Early Bronze Age was characterized by special types of barrows: bell, disk, saucer, and pond barrows. Bell barrows have relatively small mounds and a berm or gap between the mound and the ditch; disk barrows are very small mounds in the center of a circular open space, surrounded by a ditch; saucer barrows are low disk-like mounds occupying the entire space up to the ditch; while the oddly named pond barrows are not mounds at all, but circular dish-shaped enclosures surrounded by an external bank. The related term 'cairn' is used to describe a mound constructed exclusively of stone. Barrow burials occur also in Roman and post-Roman times: one of the most famous of all barrows in Britain is that covering the Anglo-Saxon boat burial at Sutton Hoo.
boat burial
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: boat grave
CATEGORY: term; feature
DEFINITION: A type of burial during the Late Iron Age in which a body or its cremated remains were placed in a boat, which was then covered by a mound of earth. This was a north European practice, common in Scandinavia and Britain from c 550 to 800 AD. This pagan ritual was widely adopted by the Vikings and practiced to a lesser extent by the Anglo-Saxons and Germans. In Norway alone there are 500 known boat burials, and many more from the rest of Scandinavia and other Viking colonies. To these seafaring people, ships were a means of transport, a way of life, and symbols of power and prestige. The Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf" describes the belief that the journey to the afterlife could be achieved in a vessel. In Anglo-Saxon Britain there are three 7th century examples in Suffolk including the rich burial of Sutton Hoo. The best-known after Sutton Hoo are the 9th-century barrows of Oseberg and Gokstad in Norway and the 10th-century barrow at Ladby in Denmark. Burial in churchyards became customary in the 11th century in those areas."
bog burial
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: Areas where human bodies are found in peat bogs in Scandinavia and northern Europe, including more than 160 from Denmark, and which are remarkably well-preserved. The chemicals in the peat preserve the bodies, which allows archaeologists to study aspects of past life, including the soft tissues of the bodies themselves and the contents of the stomachs. Burials and ritual deposits were interred in these bogs in antiquity, especially during the Bronze and Iron ages.
bundle burial
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: A secondary burial practice in which the bones of the deceased are collected after the flesh has decayed and then are re-buried in a non-articulated pile, vessel, bundle, or other grave.
burial
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: Inhumation or cremation -- the laying of a body in the ground, in a natural or artificial chamber, or in an urn after burning. In collective burial, a single chamber is used for more than one corpse. A primary burial is one for which a burial monument such as a barrow was erected. The term secondary burial is used for the practice of collecting the bones of a skeleton after the flesh has decayed, and placing them in some form of ossuary. In fractional burial, only some of the bones are so collected and interred. Archaeologists can learn a great deal about prehistoric societies by studying skeletons and the way they were buried. In some cultures, bodies were buried stretched out; in others they were placed in the ground in a fetal, or flexed position. In still other societies, the dead were exposed on platforms or in charnel houses, then when the flesh had decayed or been scavenged, the disarticulated bones were made into a bundle and buried. Sometimes bodies were cremated and the remains buried. Goods interred with a burial give many clues to the social position of the person and their culture and the study of bones can reveal sex, age, and information about nutrition and disease. The earliest deliberate burial of their dead was that of Neanderthal man of Palaeolithic times 100,000 years ago. They were buried in the cave in which the family continued to live. Food and tools were buried with them, proof of the belief in an afterlife. Neolithic man buried his dead in the long barrow, a communal tomb. Inhumation was followed by cremation in the Late Bronze Age.
burial mound
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: A large artificial hill of earth and stones built or placed over the remains of the dead at the time of burial. In England the equivalent term is barrow; in Scotland, cairn; and in Europe and elsewhere, tumulus. In western Europe and the British Isles, burial cairns and barrows date primarily from the Neolithic Period and Early Bronze Age (4000 BC-600 AD).
Burial Mound Builders
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A term used to describe the prehistoric Native Americans who constructed the burial and temple mounds that are widespread east of the Mississippi River. It was once thought to be a distinctive group of peoples, but now the mounds are assigned to the Hopewell and Adena cultures. Burial mounds were characteristic of the Indian cultures of east-central North America from about 1000 BC to 700 AD. The most numerous and grandly conceived ones, found in the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys, were large conical or elliptical mounds surrounded by extensive earthworks.
Burial Mound Period
CATEGORY: chronology; culture
DEFINITION: The penultimate period of eastern North American prehistoric chronology, from 1000 BC to 700 AD. Formulated in 1941 by J.A. Ford and Godon Willey, the total chronology, from early to late, is Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Burial Mound, and Temple Mound. The Burial Mound Period I (1000-300 BC) covers the period of transition from Late Archaic to Early Woodland ways of life and is associated especially with the Adena culture. Burial Mound II (300 BC-700 AD) is associated especially with Middle and Late Woodland groups, especially Hopewell.
burial orientation
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The direction or alignment of the body at the time of burial, especially the direction toward which the head is positioned. Burial orientation may vary according to the culture involved.
burial pit
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: A pit aboriginally excavated for the interment of human remains.
burial population
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: A set of human burials from a limited region and time period
burial urn
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A vessel in which the cremated ashes of one or more individuals are placed.
collective burial
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: The burial of a number of bodies, usually over a period of time.
flexed burial
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: A method of burial in which the body is interred in a fetal position.
inhumation
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: burial; grave burial
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The practice of burying the dead, contrasting with cremation and exposure. Burial may be in a dug grave, or in a natural or built chamber -- and may be simple or elaborate. Terms commonly used to describe it are: extended (with spine and leg bones more or less in a straight line), flexed (with the leg bones bent, but by less than 90 degrees) or crouched (with the hip and knee joints bent through more than 90 degrees). Extended burials may be supine (on the back), prone (on the face), or on the side. Primary inhumation is the initial burial of a deceased individual. Secondary inhumation is the practice of removing the remains of the deceased individual from the pyre to the grave.
interment
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: burial
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The practice or act of burying the dead.
jar burial
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: Any inhumation burial within a pottery vessel. Urn burial, in contrast, requires a much smaller pot. The use of jar burial occurred in the Mediterranean area, going back to the Early Bronze Age in Anatolia.
Kofun
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Great Burial Period, Tumulus Period
CATEGORY: chronology; culture
DEFINITION: The name of the protohistoric tomb period of Japan, 300-710 AD, and the type of tumulus used for the burials. . Large tombs were built which were covered with artificial hillocks about 8 meters high, with burial chambers about 2 meters underneath the top surface. The burial chamber, enclosed with stones, contained coffins and various funerary offerings. The period when tombs of this kind were built in abundance was characterized by Haji ware and Sue ware. It is divided into Early, 4th century; Middle, 5th century; and Late, late 5th-7th centuries. The Kofun period falls between the Yayoi period and the fully historic Nara period and partially overlaps the Asuka and Hakuho periods of art historians. In their writings, the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki texts, the culture was explained. Early kofun were built by modifying natural hills, as were Late Yayoi burial mounds. Haji pottery, used throughout the Kofun period, is very similar to Yayoi pottery and farmers lived in the same kinds of houses, using very similar tools. Technical advances over the yayoi period include irrigation canals and dams. There were also silversmiths who made the ornaments deposited in kofun and professional potters began making Sue pottery in the 5th century. Those in the fertile and well-protected Yamato Basin actively sought new technical and administrative skills on the continent and thus artisans came to make new kinds of pottery, ornaments, and weapons. Yamato leaders gained control over much of Japan in the 7th century and moved the capital to Heijo in 710. The magnificent kofun tombs indicate that the Yamato court based in the Yamato area (the present Nara prefecture) succeeded in bringing almost the whole of Japan under its control.
Lake Hauroko burial
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Site of a 17th-century AD burial of a Maori woman on an island in Lake Hauroko, southwestern South Island, New Zealand. When found, the skeleton was still sitting on a bier of sticks and wrapped in a woven flax cloak with a dogskin collar with feather edging.
Maupiti burial site
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Maupiti burial ground
CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: An early Eastern Polynesian burial site on Maupiti, Society Islands, dated to 800-1200 AD. There are 16 flexed and extended burials with grave goods of adzes, pendants, pearl-shell fishhooks paralleling the Hane in the Marquesas, and elsewhere in the Society Islands at Vaito'otia (at Huahine) and in New Zealand.
platform burial
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The practice of placing a corpse on an artificial, above-ground structure; the body was sometimes retrieved at a later date for interment.
primary burial
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: primary inhumation
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The initial or direct inhumation of the fully articulated corpse.
secondary burial
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: secondary inhumation
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The practice of removing the remains of a corpse to another grave or ossuary which were initially buried or put elsewhere.
simple burial
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: primary burial
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: The placement of a body in the ground in sort type of coffin.
urial
CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: A species of wild sheep in Iran, Turkestan, and the Himalayas with the first record of domestication from Anau c 5000 BC. It replaced the moufflon to become the ancestor of nearly all modern sheep.

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