Chambon P, Blin A, Bronk Ramsey C, Kromer B, Bayliss A, Beavan N, Healy F & Whittle A (2018) Collecting the dead: temporality and disposal in the Neolithic hypogée of Les Mournouards II (Marne, France) [Zusammenfassung: Die Toten vereinen: Temporalität und Organisation des neolithi-schen Hypogäums von Les Mournouards II (Marne, France)]. Germania, 95, pp. 93-143. https://doi.org/10.11588/ger.2017.49475
Why were large collectivities of the dead a widespread feature of the later fourth millennium cal BC in western Europe? The hypogée or artificial cave of Les Mournouards II in the Marne region, northern France, where remains of 79 people were deposited in two chambers, is used to address this and related questions. Bayesian modelling of 29 newly obtained radiocarbon dates places the construction of the tomb in the 34th or 33rd centuries cal BC, with a use-life which could be as little as 100 years. The results indicate that the two chambers were used concurrently, distinctions between them being attributable to their use by different social groupings, as hypothesised by the excavator, André Leroi-Gourhan. The probably short life of this tomb suggests that clusters of hypogées in general could reflect the use of successive tombs by the same groups. The character of the tomb is discussed in general terms of anxieties about territory and numbers of people, threats of dispersal and the maintenance of community. Diversity within collective burial practices in the Paris basin is examined, and a series of specific differences between hypogées and allées sépulcrales are explored.
Late Neolithic; Paris basin; collective burial; hypogea; radiocarbon dating; Bayesianchronological modelling
Germania: Volume 95
|Publication date online||31/07/2018|
|Date accepted by journal||19/03/2018|
|Publisher||Romano-Germanic Commission (RGK)|