Between Past and Present: Archaeology, Ideology, and by Neil Silberman

By Neil Silberman

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Exceptions are Butler’s Nederland in de Bronstijd (1969), Fokkens’ and Roymans’ Nederzettingen uit de bronstijd en de vroege ijzertijd in de Lage Landen (1991), Theunissen’s Midden-bronstijdsamenlevingen in de Lage Landen (1999) and Fokkens’ ‘The periodisation of the Dutch Bronze Age: a critical review’ (2001). Yet by and large, Bronze Age settlement sites are–when encountered and excavated –taken for granted. A brief overview of the main lines of interpretation of Dutch Bronze Age settlements highlights the most notable exceptions.

Kortlang 1999. Urnfield symbolism, ancestors and the land in the Lower Rhine Region, in F. Theuws and N. Roymans (eds), Land and Ancestors. Cultural dynamics in the Urnfield period and the Middle Ages in the Southern Netherlands, 33–62. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Amsterdam Archaeological Studies 4. Saxe, A. A. 1970. The social dimensions of mortuary practices. PhD thesis, University of Michigan. Schinkel, C. 1998. Unsettled settlement, occupation remains from the Bronze Age and the Iron Age at Oss-Ussen.

It is obvious now that–like settlement research–burial analysis too has traditionally assumed a too modern view on the meanings of treatment of death and the dead. A more holistic perspective is needed which brings to the fore the cosmological aspects of burial ritual (cf. Artelius and Svanberg 2005, 8) and its meaning as both the end and the beginning of life (cf. Bloch and Parry 1989, 8). The notion of the cyclical character of life brings together the living and the dead, settlement and cemetery, but also brings depositional practices into the analysis.

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