Urns, Mounds, Pyres, and Pits: The Many Pathways of Middle Bronze Age Bodies in Transylvania

Author(s): Colin Quinn

Year: 2016


Communities of the Wietenberg Culture in Middle Bronze Age Transylvania (2000-1500 BC) participated in diverse and dynamic social, economic, political, and ideological institutions. Traditional approaches to the mortuary practices of this period, however, have obscured diversity in the archaeological record in favor of a more homogeneous characterization of burial practices as cremation and burial in urn cemeteries. This paper traces the many different pathways that Middle Bronze Age Transylvanian bodies traveled from death to burial. In particular, the co-occurrence of multiple techniques of processing cremated bodies, inhumation in pits in settlements, reuse of Early Bronze Age tombs, and bodies missing from the archaeological record are explored. Co-occurrence is approached as both an archaeological issue, incorporating spatial and temporal dimensions, and as a social phenomenon, where alternate pathways of the body represent different choices made by the living. Examining the co-occurrence of multiple body treatments is critical for understanding complex mortuary politics, identity, social segmentation, and the development of institutionalized inequality in the Transylvanian Bronze Age.

Cite this Record

Urns, Mounds, Pyres, and Pits: The Many Pathways of Middle Bronze Age Bodies in Transylvania. Colin Quinn. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403356)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;