Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age Burials in Northeast England

Chris Fowler, 2012

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Chris Fowler (2012) Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age Burials in Northeast England [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]


This project examined the evidence for Chalcolithic (or Terminal Neolithic) and Early Bronze Age mortuary practices in Northeast England (c. 2500-1500 BC) using the records of mortuary deposits from nineteenth and twentieth century AD excavations. The research involved the acquisition and analysis of detailed contextual information on 355 mortuary deposits from 150 different sites in the region. This archive consists of a dataset derived from existing publications and grey literature on these mortuary deposits, combined with summarised results from the osteological assessment or re-assessment of human remains from the period currently curated by Tyne and Wear Museums, and radiocarbon dating of selected remains from those collections (see Gamble and Fowler in press). In carrying out the first synthesis of Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age burial practices in the region, the project examined uses of material culture in mortuary practices, the treatments of the body, the nature and use of the mortuary features, the nature and emergence of sites where mortuary deposits appear, and the landscapes in which these are situated. Among other features, the study examined changing strategies in the treatment of the dead, changes in the rituals involved in funerary practice, attitudes towards death and identity, and understandings of place and cosmology in the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age (Fowler 2013; in press, Gamble and Fowler 2013).


  • Fowler, C. 2013. The Emergent Past: A Relational Realist Archaeology of Early Bronze Age Mortuary Practices. Oxford University Press.
  • Fowler, C. In press. "The more things change, the more they remain the same"? Continuity and change in Northumbrian Early Bronze Age mortuary rites', in R. Brandt, H. Ingvaldsen and M. Prusac (eds) Ritual Changes and Changing Rituals: Function and Meaning in Ancient Funerary Practices. Oxbow Books.
  • Gamble, M. and Fowler, C. In press. 'A re-assessment of human skeletal remains in Tyne and Wear Museums: Results and implications for interpreting Early Bronze Age burials from Northeast England and beyond'. Archaeologia Aeliana 42 (2013).
  • Gamble, M. and Fowler, C. (2013) Osteological Analysis of Early Bronze Age human skeletal remains in Tyne and Wear Museums. Archaeology Data Service: York [distributor] DOI: 10.5284/1017462.