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Early FarmersThe View from Archaeology and Science$
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Alasdair Whittle and Penny Bickle

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265758

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265758.001.0001

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Mass Graves of the LBK

Mass Graves of the LBK

Patterns and Peculiarities

(p.307) 16 Mass Graves of the LBK
Early Farmers

Christian Meyer

Christian Lohr

Olaf Kürbis

Veit Dresely

Wolfgang Haak

Christina J. Adler

Detlef Gronenborn

Kurt W. Alt

British Academy

Truly deviant grave features exist with the known Linearbandkeramik (LBK) mass graves from Germany, which share the absence of grave goods, erratic commingling of bodies, a location within a settlement context and suppressed individuality of the dead. They differ markedly from LBK multiple burials found in cemeteries and seem to have been deposited as a consequence of mass fatality events, whether violence was involved or not. Once thought to be unique, the authors suggest that mass graves should be regarded as a standard way of disposing of a large number of dead occurring within a short period of time. The known LBK mass grave sites from Germany are summarised here and a working typology of mass graves and related features within the LBK cultural context is presented. Osteological and bioarchaeometric analyses, currently in progress, will enable more detailed comparisons between these sites and others already known or to be discovered.

Keywords:   Linearbandkeramik (LBK), mass graves, Germany, violence, osteoarchaeology, bioarchaeology

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