Cultural Behaviour or Natural Processes? A Review of Southern Britain Iron Age Skeletal Remains

Justine Tracey


This research focuses on the British Iron Age and challenging the current hypotheses of exposing the dead on five Iron Age sites in Hampshire and one from Dorset, England. Current theories are based on anthropological analogies and classical texts to understand and interpret the burial record. However, this research focused on understanding the formation of the burial record employing a new science-based methodology. This new approach is both integrated and multidiscAlinary, combining the osteological and context taphonomic physical or material evidence to discern cultural behaviour from natural processes. The approach utilises a wide range of forensic anthropology and taphonomy, including l’anthropologie de terrain or archaeothanatology, to identify archaeological signatures from three key and interrelated areas: the remains, the deposition context, and the relationshA between the corpse and its deposition circumstance. A new system of categorising Iron Age remains was developed to differentiate funerary and depositional behaviour between sites.