Mount, C. 2013. A note on some Beaker period pit burials in Ireland. Journal of Irish Archaeology XXI, 1-6.
This is an abstract of a paper on Beaker burials that I published in the Journal of Irish Archaeology in August 2013. If you would like to read more and you don’t have a subscription to the journal who can order it from Wordwell.
Not long ago Beaker period burials in Ireland had only been identified in association with megalithic tombs, primarily Wedge and Court Tombs. However, in recent years a small number of pit burials of the Beaker period or Chalcolithic have been found. This note describes the burials that have been identified to date.
There are a number of pit burials, all found since 1998, from Lismullin, Co. Meath, Corbally, Co. Kildare, Brownstown, Co. Kildare, and Waterunder, Mell, Co. Louth that are characterised as having small quantities of cremated human bone, or in one case an inhumation, often associated with sherds from one or more Beaker vessels as well as stone artefacts and food remains. More Beaker associated pits that may have included human remains are known from Carrigrohane, Co. Cork, Broomfield, Co. Dublin and Rathjordan, Co. Limerick and an old burial find from Co. Wexford may date to the Beaker period.
Pit burials are notoriously difficult to identify, they are substantially under-represented in the archaeological record, and the small number discussed are likely to be indicative of a larger original number. The possibility that small quantities of cremated bone in simple pits without associations may also date to the Beaker period should also be considered. The deposition of Beaker period burials in pits after 2450 cal BC represents an alternative practice to burial in megalithic tombs, that has the capability of filling a chronological and distributional gap, and provides a background for the development of the flat cemeteries in the Early Bronze Age.
Cite this post as:
Mount, C. 2013. A note on some Beaker period pit burials in Ireland. Charles Mount’s Blog, 8 August 2013. http://charles-mount.ie/wp/?p=1093