This paper sets out how to approach the chronology of an archaeological funerary practice, through a specific case study: the Neolithic “Pit Burials” funerary horizon of the northeastern Iberian Peninsula. Towards the end of the fifth millennium cal BC, the communities settled in this region began to systematically bury a large part of their population in individual, occasionally double, pits or stone boxes burials. Clear similarities have been documented with other neolithic European funerary horizons, such as the “Chasséen” in France or the “Cortaillod” in Switzerland, that suggest that it could be a larger-scale phenomenon. However, up to now the chronology of “Pit Burials” has not been fully defined, so describing and explaining this phenomenon both regionally and globally has been difficult. This paper fills this gap by presenting, on the one hand, new unpublished radiocarbon dates, addressing the methodological possibilities of statistical analysis and Bayesian modelling of radiocarbon dates in order to specify the chronology of funerary contexts. The results presented here not only show the chronology of the “Pit Burials”, and its relationship with the other similar European burials, from this methodological point of view for the first time, but also the methodological advantages of these statistical tools in order to specify the chronology of any other archaeological funerary practice.
- Funerary practices
- Radiocarbon dating
- Statistical analysis and Bayesian modelling of radiocarbon dating