The tempo of the Iberian megalithic rituals in the European context: The cemetery of Panoría
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AuthorAranda Jiménez, Gonzalo
Radiocarbon datingBayesian modellingFunerary ritualmegalithic societiesIberian peninsula
Aranda Jiménez, G., Milesi García, L., Hamilton, D., Díaz-Zorita Bonilla, M., Vílchez Suárez, M., Robles Carrasco, S., Sánchez Romero, M. & Benavides López, J. A. 2022. The tempo of the Iberian megalithic rituals in the European context: The cemetery of Panoría. Journal of Archaeological Science, 140.
Our ability to build precise narratives regarding megalithic societies largely depends on the chronology of the multi-ritual events that usually shaped these complex sites. The cemetery of Panoría offers an excellent opportunity for exploring ritual complexity in Iberia through radiocarbon chronology, as four of the nine recently excavated dolmens are remarkably well preserved. For this purpose, seventy-three radiocarbon dates were obtained and analysed within a Bayesian framework. The resulting refined chronology has led us to three main conclusions: i) in all tombs, the second half of the 4th millennium cal BC was an intensive but brief period of funerary depositions, probably over three to six generations; ii) after a long hiatus, most of the dolmens were reused in the 25th and 21st centuries cal BC during even shorter periods, spanning just a few decades and approximately one to four generations; and (iii) long after the funerary rituals had ended in the 21st century, the memory of the cemetery was revived in Late Antiquity. These short, punctuated periods of use are highly consistent with those seen in a growing number of European megalithic monuments. From Britain to Iberia, a pattern of short spans of use is dramatically changing our perception of the social and political roles of these complex monuments.