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Old bones or early graves? Megalithic burial sequences in southern Sweden based on 14C datings

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Malou Blank
Karl-Göran Sjögren
Jan Storå
Publicerad i Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Volym 12
Sidor 1-33
ISSN 1866-9557
Publiceringsår 2020
Publicerad vid Institutionen för historiska studier
Sidor 1-33
Språk en
Länkar https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-020-...
Ämnesord Burials, Gallery graves, Megalithic tombs, Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, Radiocarbon dating, Relics, Southern Sweden
Ämneskategorier Arkeologi

Sammanfattning

© 2020, The Author(s). Megalithic tombs have since long been a focus of debate within the archaeological research field, not least regarding their emergence, use life and the various bursts of building activity in different regions and periods. The aim of this study is to investigate the temporal span of the main burial sequences in the conventional megalithic grave types of southern Sweden, with special focus on the less studied gallery graves. In Scandinavia, megalithic tombs are divided into three main types: dolmens, passage graves and gallery graves. Here, this prevailing typological seriation was tested. The study was based on 374 14C dates from unique individuals selected from 66 tombs. The form, layout and dating of the different types of tombs were studied in order to examine regional and chronological variation in the use of megaliths. By comparing sum plots, KDE models, individual 14C dates and typology of artefacts, the existing chronologies were evaluated. The 14C dates from dolmens and passage graves more or less agreed with the conventional chronology, while the presence of early skeletons in gallery graves was unexpected. The results indicate that megalithic graves appeared more or less simultaneously in southern Sweden and were first used around 3500–3300 cal BC. The dolmens and passage graves were used contemporaneously, although the proportion of early dates supports a slightly earlier start of the dolmens. Some of the gallery graves may also have been introduced at this time, although reburial of old bones cannot be ruled out.

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