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Intersecting Generations: Burying the Old in a Neolithic Hunter-Fisher Community
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies.
2013 (English)In: Cambridge Archaeological Journal, ISSN 0959-7743, E-ISSN 1474-0540, Vol. 23, no 2, 227-239 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores the potential of studying the social dimensions of old age and aged bodies in the past. Because old age is relative to life-expectancy figures, diet and lifestyle, calendric years are avoided when defining old age. Instead a composite approach is advocated that includes, for example, traces of wear and joint diseases to identify a threshold between adulthood and a period of seniority. The approach is applied to the Middle Neolithic burial ground Ajvide on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. Eleven individuals (six men, five women, or 18 per cent of the 62 analysed burials) are regarded as ‘aged bodies’. At Ajvide a majority of these individuals are buried in graves that overlap earlier burials containing younger individuals of the same sex. It is argued that this pattern is due to eschatological ideas of ‘generational merging’ of bodies. This practice changes over time, which is suggested to be a part of the overall hybridization processes at the site. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 23, no 2, 227-239 p.
Keyword [en]
Old Age, Neolithic, Ajvide, Pitted-Ware Culture
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-87956DOI: 10.1017/S0959774313000243ISI: 000319990100005OAI: diva2:617351


Available from: 2013-04-22 Created: 2013-02-27 Last updated: 2013-07-24Bibliographically approved

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Fahlander, Fredrik
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