A chrono-geographic look at Mesolithic burials: an initial study
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Meiklejohn, C., J. Babb & W. Hiebert, 2016. A chrono-geographic look at Mesolithic burials: an initial study. In H. Meller, B. Gramsch, J.M. Grünberg, L. Larsson & J. Orschiedt, eds.,Mesolithic burials – rites, symbols and social organisation of early postglacial communities. Tagungen des Landesmuseums für Vorgeschichte Halle/Congresses of the State Museum for Prehistory Halle, 17, 25-45. Halle: Landesmuseums für Vorgeschichte.
Over the past decade we have focused on two interrelated topics within Mesolithic burial studies, the relationship between burial number and burial date, and the chronology of Mesolithic sites with burials. Related to this has been construction of a database of metric variability and chronology for the period, an up-to-date list of known human bone finds, burial type, number of individuals, and geographic coordinates. In previous papers we showed that, contrary to expectations, multiple burials or cemeteries (however defined) are not restricted to the Late Mesolithic but occur throughout the sequence, possibly with Upper Palaeolithic roots. Earlier analyses were primarily concerned with number of burials in a site and their absolute date. The geographic aspect, most obviously seen in latitude and longitude, was only explored in passing. We showed that patterns were largely similar for Europe as a whole and for the more circumscribed area of North-western Europe. This paper updates earlier work and uses geostatistical approaches together with other statistical procedures to provide an initial exploration of whether other patterns are hidden within the data. This may assist in answering questions such as whether the overall pattern of burial during the Mesolithic is random or patterned.