Friday, March 22, 2013

0169 – Ditches and Funerary Practices

Ditch and entrances to hypogea crypts in the north wall.

At Carrascal 2, near Porto Torrão complex of enclosures, a chalcolithic ditch was partially excavated by ERA Arqueologia S.A. and raveled an uncommon situation.  

The ditch, with 2 meters deep and about 4 meters wide, presented a base sectioned in rectangular shapes with a fireplace and in the north side a sequence of hypogea, at least two of them with access through entrances excavated from the side wall of the ditch.

One of the entrances was close by an agglomeration of stones and another by a schist slab. The first third of the filling of the ditch revealed several layers of pavements of circulation, revealing that the ditch functioned as an access atrium to the hypogea.

Over the last pavement, two depositions of human cremation remains were recorded, demonstrating the importance of this specific funerary practice in the 3rd millennium C, just like is being corroborated in Perdigões enclosure.

This kind of articulation of ditches and funerary crypts is new in Iberian Chalcolithic, but shows how diversified practices and structures related to death can be in this period, namely in the areas of the large complexes of ditched enclosures.

A preliminary paper on this context (still in press) can be obtained here

Bottom of the ditch and sequence of circulation pavements with the detail of a deposition of a shell at the entrance of the central hypogeum.

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