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Chapter Fourteen. Cremation and comminution at etruscan Tarquinia in the 5th–4th century BCE: Insights into cultural transformations from tomb 6322

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Chapter Summary

Recent studies of the taphonomic processes relating to cremation burials within egalitarian societies have been useful for understanding cultural activities during the later part of the Iron Age in Italy, commonly called the Villanovan period. These studies of skeletons and the changes they undergo prior to excavation also provide clues to the interpretation and meaning of cremation activities during the Etruscan period. Of particular note, especially with regard to the cremation in Tomb 6322 at Tarquinia and others of the 5th4th century BCE, is that these later urns are much smaller than the large, biconical examples used during the Villanovan period. The post-burning cremation process includes comminution, placement in a protective container of some type, plus burial. This process is followed by in-ground deterioration and damage during recovery. The chapter summarizes four considerations that Musgrave notes as critical to the study of cremated human remains.

Keywords: comminution; cremation burials; Etruscan period; Iron Age; Italy; skeletons; Tarquinia; Tomb 6322; Villanovan period



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