Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, Vol 32, No 1 (2019)

The Inheritors: Bell Beaker Children’s Tombs in Iberia and Their Social Context (2500–2000 Cal BC)

A. M. Herrero-Corral, R. Garrido-Pena, R. Flores Fernández
Issued Date: 16 Jul 2019

Abstract


For the most part, children have been overlooked in the archaeological literature. However, in recent decades, numerous studies have pointed out the relevance of this social group and the necessity of including children in any attempt to reconstruct past societies. This study reports on an investigation of the main Bell Beaker child burial sites on the Iberian Peninsula and in a wider European perspective. It includes recent important discoveries in central Iberia, some of which are published here for the first time. Burial treatment of various age categories is examined to determine when individuals reach adulthood, regardless of their biological age, and when they may be considered full members of the social group. We have also noted special miniature versions of adult grave goods that were specifically made for children’s graves; it is also possible that some objects had been made by children working as apprentices. These are crucial issues for analysing the social contexts of Bell Beakers, including for understanding the key problem of inherited status in Iberia during the second half of the third millennium cal bc, which was a period of significant social changes.

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DOI: 10.1558/jma.39328

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