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Making Ancestors: The Politics of Death in Prehistoric Europe

Descrizione del progetto

Definire la disuguaglianza e la morte nell’Europa preistorica

Tradizionalmente, nella preistoria europea le differenti classi sociali venivano identificate tramite pratiche differenziate di sepoltura individuale. Tuttavia, il collegamento tra il tipo di sepoltura e lo stato sociale solo di rado è così diretto. La disuguaglianza potrebbe essere evidente nella differenziazione delle opportunità di vita, delle parentele, dei rituali e degli antenati anziché attraverso la guida politica, il benessere o l’identità. In quest’ottica, il progetto ANCESTORS, finanziato dall’UE, si propone di testare modelli alternativi di disuguaglianza e pratiche funerarie preistoriche. Studierà le relazioni sociali in vita utilizzando l’osteobiografia e definirà le modalità di sepoltura per mezzo della tafonomia funeraria. Combinare le due metodologie renderà possibile collegare la vita e la morte degli antichi. I risultati del progetto forniranno approfondimenti sul modo in cui la disuguaglianza ha inciso sull’esistenza nell’Europa preistorica e sul ruolo svolto al riguardo dagli antenati.

Obiettivo

How did politics and inequality work in prehistoric Europe? Traditionally, politics has been seen in terms of discrete political ranks identified through differential treatment of individual burials. But this results in classifying much of prehistory, where the dead were treated in ways which effaced individual identity, as egalitarian. The result is an artificially dichotomous history: Neolithic people had landscapes, rituals and ancestors, Bronze and Iron Age people had politics and inequality. In the last two decades this approach has been strongly critiqued. Burial treatment rarely relates to status so directly; the dead serve many different political roles. Inequality in pre-state groups rarely consists of clear strata; inequality and equality exist in tension within groups. Inequality may have been present throughout European prehistory, but manifest situationally through differential life chances, kinship, ritual or ancestorhood, rather than overtly through political command, wealth or identity. But this new perspective has never been tested empirically.
This project tests alternative models of prehistoric inequality and deathways. To investigate social relations in life, it uses osteobiography, reconstructing life stories from skeletons through scientific data on identity, health, diet, mobility and kinship. To understand deathways, it employs a second new methodology, funerary taphonomy. Combining osteobiography and taphonomy allows us to connect ancient lives and deaths. Peninsular Italy provides a substantial test sequence typical of much of Europe. For each of three key periods (Neolithic, 6000-4000 BC; Final Neolithic to Early Bronze Age, 4000-1800 BC; Middle Bronze Age to Iron Age, 1800-600 BC), 200+ individuals will be analysed. The results will allow us to evaluate for the first time how inequality affected lives in prehistoric Europe and what role ancestors played in it.

Meccanismo di finanziamento

ERC-ADG - Advanced Grant

Istituzione ospitante

THE CHANCELLOR MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
Contribution nette de l'UE
€ 862 086,75
Indirizzo
TRINITY LANE THE OLD SCHOOLS
CB2 1TN Cambridge
Regno Unito

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Regione
East of England East Anglia Cambridgeshire CC
Tipo di attività
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Collegamenti
Costo totale
€ 862 086,75

Beneficiari (3)