Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

You are here: Home / Associated publications / Anthropologica & Prehistorica / ANTHROPOLOGICA ET PREHISTORICA / Bibliographic references / Cremation burials in central and southwestern Europe: quantifying an adoption of innovation in the 2nd millennium BC.

Giancomo Capuzzo and Juan A Barcelo (2022)

Cremation burials in central and southwestern Europe: quantifying an adoption of innovation in the 2nd millennium BC.

Anthropologica et Praehistorica, 131:113-160.

The Late Bronze Age in Europe represents a perfect case study to test different and competing hypotheses of social dynamics and cultural changes in small-scale societies. Among the most relevant changes which took place in the 2nd millennium BC, the introduction and the development of the cremation rite deserves a particular attention for its relevance. Traditionally, the origin of the so-called Urnfield culture has been placed in the Charpato-Danubian area. From this region cremation burials would have expanded across space and along time toward western and southern territories. It follows that the presence of the cremation rite in the north-east of Iberian Peninsula has been explained as a consequence of such east to west people movements. Recently, scholars started to assume the inner complexity, which characterizes the introduction and the development of the cremation practice, as shown by the variability in grave types, the magnitude of the dispersal area and the social and ideological deep transformations following the adoption of such innovation. In this paper we want to adopt an innovative approach. Through the chrono- and geostatistical analysis of a comprehensive dataset of radiocarbon-dated cremation burials we aim to model the spread of the cremation practice in the time span 1800-800 BC in central and southwestern Europe. The basic assumption is the detection of a spatio-temporal gradient which is an outcome of an expansive phenomenon, i.e. a dynamic system in which every location, at some well-specified underlying space, has a distinctive behavior through time. When a system expands through time, we can foresee a certain degree of dependence between locations, and this dependence is exactly what gives unity to the process. Obtained results show the existence of a consistent East to West space-time gradient, which could be explained as a result of spreading movements from the northwestern Alpine region and the Swiss Plateau to western and southern territories.
Radiocarbon dating; cremation; Bronze Age; central-western Europe; diffusion.



  Search tables of content Search Bibliographic References Search Full Text
Full Text


Editors in Chief:
Dr. Anne Hauzeur
Dr. Kevin Salesse
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautierstraat 29
1000 Brussels, Belgium

ISSN 1377-5723 (printed version)

UK: Guide for authors
FR: Instructions aux auteurs
NL: Richtlijnen voor auteurs