Tales from the Dead

Funerary Practices in the Late Neolithic Hypogeum of Monte Canelas I (Alcalar, Algarve, Portugal)

Duration: 2008 ‐ 2010

Abstract: Monte Canelas I is a late Neolithic artificial cave that has revealed 7749 bone fragments belonging to at least 171 individuals. This site, in addition to others across SW Europe, shows that these communities embraced complex funerary behaviours. The ulterior disturbance caused by taphonomic factors further complicates the interpretation of this type of archaeological space. In order to document such complex funerary behaviours, thorough field recovery procedures are needed: any reconstruction of the ritual and cultural context of past necropolis depends on registering and identifying each bone’s position and recording all geoarcheological and taphonomical information. The analysis of the available information using tools such as GIS technology will result in a contribution to the understanding of mortuary behaviour. Our final goal is to integrate palaeoanthropological, spatial and taphonomic studies in order to establish a basis for a better understanding of the complex relationship between the living and the dead.

Coordinator: Ana Maria Silva

Participants: Ana Maria Silva e Maria João Neves

Partner institutions: Dryas Arqueologia, Lda.

Financial support: Archaeological Institute of America