Religion and ritual key sites

  • Created by: zoe
  • Created on: 28-12-12 15:15


  • Mesolithic cemetery in Denmark dated around 4330BC
  • 17 Burials with 22 skeletons, similar to ertebolle culture at skateholm
  • Diversity in Burials suggest 'tomb of the different'
  • Often Children under 1, Women who died during Childbirth and the elderly
  • Graves East-west with the body facing either way
  • Children mainly buried elsewhere
  • Lack of goods in Childrens burials; status earned?
  • Red Ochre - Return to Earth/rebirth/blood?
  • Grave 8 had a mother and child; the child lain on a swans wing - Ascribed status? Possibly Religious specialist. Possibly resembling a faster journey to the afterlife
  • Males not with children, Women carers in death?
  • 2 adults with a child inbetween; body on childs left possible third gender - tools and ornaments. Possible Religious specialist.
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Thornborough Henges

  • Built over a pre-existing cursus
  • Already an important ritual centre
  • Monument consists of 3 Henges
  • Banks constructed from the earth of two ditches; one around the outside and one on the inside of the Henge
  • Kept clear from everyday usage
  • Henge was only used for special occasions
  • Banks of henge covered in gypsum
  • alignment shows resemblance to Orions belt
  • Eastern end aligned to the midsumer solstice
  • Very close to a river, possibly liminal boundary?
  • some evidence for possible propitiation
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  • Neolithic Chambered tomb
  • Built to a much higher standard than the other megalithic tombs in the Neolithic - Burial site for the elite of society?
  • Built upon leveling ground, thought to have previously stood a house and then a stone circle
  • Layout of the tomb similar to skara brae, suggesting a 'house of the dead'
  • society believed that the dead would continue into the spirit world and required a place to reside in death
  • Tombs shape possibly suggests a link to fertility of the Mother Earth Goddess
  • Narrow entrance could also suggest a rite of passage due to the difficulty when entering
  • Human remains inside the tomb probably excarnated, but difficult to positively identify due to a lack of remains
  • Tomb had been looted and had graffiti on from vikings
  • Bones possibly used in rituals
  • Entrance had been made to mark winter solstice
  • Built by putting 4 posts up in the middle first
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Hochdorf Chieftain burial

  • Iron age tumuli 
  • Consists of a double-planked wooden chamber reinforced with stone
  • immediately apparent that whoever was in the tomb should not be disturbed
  • Burial itself was very rich indicating a person of high wealth and power
  • Bronze couch within the burial
  • Timber wagon used to carry him to the grave and to the afterlife
  • Loaded with everyday items suggesting he was going somewhere
  • Body was richly decorated with a gold neck ring, shoes and bracelets
  • All jewellery were fashioned nearby especially for the funeral
  • Birch bark hat was found like at Hirschlanden
  • Few weapons, war did not nessecarily mean power
  • Body was embalmed, possibly due to the amount of time to produce such burial goods, possibly because the body needed to be preserved for the afterlife
  • Nearby burials suggested slaves went to the afterlife with their master
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  • Bronze age period
  • Very few similar structures
  • Circular wooden palisade surrounding an upturned tree stump
  • Bronze axe found nearby, possibly an offering or propitiation
  • Tree stump has loops cut into it to allow the threading of honeysuckle rope probably used to move the stump to its final position
  • otherwise rather unremarkable
  • stump kind of excarnation platform
  • Nothing remains to imply bodies were kept there
  • Stump could be an offering to the spirit world
  • wooden palisade around the stump arranged so it was impossible to see inside
  • Whatever went inside was possibly sacred
  • Coastline possibly liminal boundary
  • splitpost entrance aligned to the mid-winter sunset
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