Assembling the dead, gathering the living: radiocarbon dating and Bayesian modelling for Copper Age Valencina de la Concepción (Seville, Spain)

García Sanjuán, L. et al. (2018) Assembling the dead, gathering the living: radiocarbon dating and Bayesian modelling for Copper Age Valencina de la Concepción (Seville, Spain). Journal of World Prehistory, 31(2), pp. 179-313. (doi: 10.1007/s10963-018-9114-2) (PMID:29962659) (PMCID:PMC5984651)

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The great site of Valencina de la Concepción, near Seville in the lower Guadalquivir valley of southwest Spain, is presented in the context of debate about the nature of Copper Age society in southern Iberia as a whole. Many aspects of the layout, use, character and development of Valencina remain unclear, just as there are major unresolved questions about the kind of society represented there and in southern Iberia, from the late fourth to the late third millennium cal BC. This paper discusses 178 radiocarbon dates, from 17 excavated sectors within the c. 450 ha site, making it the best dated in later Iberian prehistory as a whole. Dates are modelled in a Bayesian statistical framework. The resulting formal date estimates provide the basis for both a new epistemological approach to the site and a much more detailed narrative of its development than previously available. Beginning in the 32nd century cal BC, a long-lasting tradition of simple, mainly collective and often successive burial was established at the site. Mud-vaulted tholoi appear to belong to the 29th or 28th centuries cal BC; large stone-vaulted tholoi such as La Pastora appear to date later in the sequence. There is plenty of evidence for a wide range of other activity, but no clear sign of permanent, large-scale residence or public buildings or spaces. Results in general support a model of increasingly competitive but ultimately unstable social relations, through various phases of emergence, social competition, display and hierarchisation, and eventual decline, over a period of c. 900 years.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The Times of Their Lives ( has been supported by an Advanced Investigator Grant (295412) from the European Research Council, led by Alasdair Whittle and Alex Bayliss.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dunbar, Dr Elaine
Authors: García Sanjuán, L., Vargas Jiménez, J. M., Cáceres Puro, L. M., Costa Caramé, M. E., Díaz-Guardamino Uribe, M., Díaz-Zorita Bonilla, M., Fernández Flores, Á., Hurtado Pérez, V., López Aldana, P. M., Méndez Izquierdo, E., Pajuelo Pando, A., Rodríguez Vidal, J., Wheatley, D., Bronk Ramsey, C., Delgado-Huertas, A., Dunbar, E., Mora González, A., Bayliss, A., Beavan, N., Hamilton, D., and Whittle, A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Journal of World Prehistory
ISSN (Online):1573-7802
Published Online:19 May 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of World Prehistory 31(2):179-313
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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