Cremation practices and the creation of monument complexes: the Neolithic cremation cemetery at Forteviot, Strathearn, Perth & Kinross, Scotland, and its comparanda

Noble, G. and Brophy, K. (2017) Cremation practices and the creation of monument complexes: the Neolithic cremation cemetery at Forteviot, Strathearn, Perth & Kinross, Scotland, and its comparanda. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 83, pp. 213-245. (doi:10.1017/ppr.2017.11)

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Abstract

Around the beginning of the 3rd millennium cal bc a cremation cemetery was established at Forteviot, central Scotland. This place went on to become one of the largest monument complexes identified in Mainland Scotland, with the construction of a palisaded enclosure, timber structures, and a series of henge monuments and other enclosures. The cemetery was established between 3080 and 2900 cal bc, probably in the 30th century cal bc, which is contemporary with the cremation cemetery at Stonehenge. Nine discrete deposits of cremated bone, representing the remains of at least 18 people, were identified. In most instances they were placed within cut features and, in one case, a series of cremation deposits was associated with a broken standing stone. This paper includes the first detailed assessment of the cremated remains at Forteviot and the features associated with the cemetery, and explores how the establishment of this cemetery may have been both a catalyst and inspiration for the elaborate monument building and prolonged acts of remembrance that occurred at this location over a period of almost 1000 years. The paper also outlines the parallels for Forteviot across Britain and, for the first time, draws together the dating evidence (including Bayesian modelling) for this major category of evidence for considering the nature of late 4th/early 3rd millennium cal bc society. The results and discussion have wide implications and resonances for contemplating the establishment and evolution of monument complexes in prehistoric Britain and beyond.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Brophy, Dr Kenneth and Noble, Mr Gordon
Authors: Noble, G., and Brophy, K.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0079-497X
ISSN (Online):2050-2729
Published Online:04 October 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 83:213-245
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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