|dc.description.abstract||This thesis compares burial practices of Beaker-using communities in Britain and
provides a corpus of British Beaker burials. Chronologically, this study covers the
period from around the 25th until the 18th century BC, from the Chalcolithic to the
Early Bronze Age.
Beakers were a new feature in late British prehistory and were probably introduced
through small-scale migration and cultural transfer. Together with the pottery, a new
style of funerary practices was introduced, that was comparable to continental
practices at that time and strictly distinguished between male and female individuals.
The standard continental practice, e.g. in Bohemia, was that men were buried with
their head to the north, lying on their left side, thus facing east. Women were also
facing east, but were buried on the right side and were consequently orientated to the
south. This particular pattern can be found in southern Britain but is less strict in its
application. This peculiar finding has attracted much scholarly interest since its
discovery. Therefore, the research of Beaker funerary practices has a long tradition
and still forms a core area of research.
This study considers two main questions: does the data confirm established opinions
on Beaker burial practices, including a distinct regional division of burial traditions,
e.g. in terms of body orientation between northern and southern Britain, and is it
possible to identify which area of continental Europe exerted the greatest influence
on developments in Britain?
In order to be able to structurally compare these burials, a database containing 311
entries has been compiled from the published literature. All available data on the
skeletons has been integrated, including orientation, position, and limb position.
Additionally, data on grave construction and artefacts has been collected. This data
has been analysed quantitatively and qualitatively, both comparatively and
Through the collected data, this thesis argues that the general image of Beaker burial
practices is still valid. However, certain generalisations require revision, for example
the orientations of individuals. Chronologically, early Beaker burials follow strict
standards, while during the course of Beaker currency these standards become less
strictly adhered to. Possible regions of the origin of British Beaker burial practices
are usually connected with the Lower Rhine area. The study agrees that this area had
strong influences in northern Britain, but argues that southern Britain, on grounds of
orientations and positions of the bodies, had more varied influences with a stronger
input from central Europe.||en