Manipulation of the Body in the Mesolithic of North-West Europe

Author(s): Amy Gray Jones

Year: 2017


This paper seeks to situate the phenomena of ‘loose’ human bones in the Mesolithic of north-west Europe within a wider understanding of the role of post-mortem manipulation of the body in the mortuary practices of these Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. Whilst originally interpreted as the remains of disturbed burials, assemblages of disarticulated human remains have begun to be accepted as evidence for alternative mortuary practices, though their specific nature has so far received little critical attention. Recent doctoral research, based on detailed osteological analysis, has identified the specific processes and practices that were undertaken at a number of sites across Europe. This material is considered against the background of evidence for Mesolithic mortuary practice which displays enormous variation in the treatment of the body after death. Whilst ‘loose’ human bones may seem isolated to us, I argue that the practices and processes that produced these remains, and their deposition in the landscape, involved them in relationships with other objects, places and (living) people, revealing Mesolithic attitudes to persons, bodies and death.

Cite this Record

Manipulation of the Body in the Mesolithic of North-West Europe. Amy Gray Jones. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429253)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15985