Neolithic cave burials

Agency, structure and environment

By Rick Peterson

Neolithic cave burials


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1886-8
  • Pages: 272
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: April 2019
  • BIC Category: Archaeology, Landscape archaeology, Stone Age: Neolithic period, Archaeology by period / region, Archaeology, RELIGION / Antiquities & Archaeology, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology, Humanities / Landscape archaeology, Prehistoric Archaeology, Humanities / Archaeology
  • Series: Social Archaeology and Material Worlds


This is the first book-length treatment of Neolithic burial in Britain to focus primarily on cave evidence. It interprets human remains from forty-eight caves and compares them to what we know of Neolithic collective burial elsewhere in Britain and Europe. It reviews the archaeology of these cave burials and treats them as important evidence for the study of mortuary practice. Drawing on evidence from archaeology, anthropology, osteology and cave science, the book demonstrates that cave burial was one of the earliest elements of the British Neolithic. It also shows that Early Neolithic cave-burial practice was highly varied, with many similarities to other burial rites. However, by the Middle Neolithic, a funerary practice which was specific to caves had developed.


Rick Peterson is Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Central Lancashire


1 The body in the cave
2 In praise of limestone
3 Gestures and positions
4 How do caves act?
5 Origins
6 Written on the body
7 Deep time
8 Temporality, structure and environment

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