Funerary practices in megalithic tombs during the Argaric Bronze Age in South-Eastern Iberia: The cemetery of Los Eriales
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AuthorMilesi García, Lara Bibiana; Aranda Jiménez, Gonzalo; Robles Carrasco, Sonia; Vílchez Suárez, Miriam; Sánchez Romero, Margarita; Becerra Fuello, Paula
Radiocarbon datingBayesian modellingFunerary ritualCopper ageArgaric CultureMegalithic societiesIberian Peninsula
L. Milesi García et al. Funerary practices in megalithic tombs during the Argaric Bronze Age in South-Eastern Iberia: The cemetery of Los Eriales. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 49 (2023) 103972[https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2023.103972]
SponsorshipFEDER programme–University of Granada (A-HUM-123-UGR18 and B-HUM-174-UGR20); Regional Government of Andalusia (P18-FR-4123); Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (PID2020-114282GB-I00); Universidad de Málaga / CBUA
The transition between the Copper Age and the Argaric Bronze Age in south-eastern Iberia has traditionally been understood in an evolutionary framework that would have involved the replacement of some cultural forms by others. The chronology of megalithic societies has changed this assumption, revealing that the continuity of ancestral funerary practices is also a key feature of the Bronze Age. In this context, the new radiocarbon series from Los Eriales discussed in this paper can be considered a key contribution. Three main aspects stand out according to their statistical analysis: i) Los Eriales should be considered the most recent Iberian megalithic cemetery, as ritual activity began in the last centuries of the third millennium cal BC; ii) funerary activity took place during short events of intensive ritual depositions spanning a few decades, mainly in the 21st and 18th centuries; and iii) Los Eriales cemetery was mainly used during the Argaric period, which means the coexistence of two very different funerary practices: collective megalithic rituals and individual intramural inhumations. The continuity of megalithic rituals can be explained in terms of resilience to the social fragmentation that characterised Argaric societies.