29th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


Linking Ancestors With Monuments: Engaging with the Dead in Neolithic Ireland | The Neolithic passage tombs of Ireland have been the subject of interest for generations of scholars, but it is only in relatively recent years that the human remains (the people) in these monuments have been considered in more than quantitative terms. Using anthropological interpretative frameworks, how the living approached the dead (and death) in Neolithic Ireland is discussed using the recent and current analyses of the human remains from the impressive passage tomb complex at Carrowkeel (Co. Sligo) and the winter solstice aligned passage tomb at Knockroe (Co. Kilkenny). The intentional processing of the dead–through disarticulation/dismemberment, fragmentation and cremation–is evident on both these sites but expressed differently. At Carrowkeel, both unburnt (9.7kgs) and cremated bones (5.7kgs) were found, while Knockroe contains almost exclusively (highly fragmented) cremated remains (c.
200kgs). To what extent do the human remains help us understand the complexity of the passage tomb tradition? How does the treatment of the dead reflect the beliefs and worldview of the people in Neolithic Ireland? These questions are likely to remain unanswered. However, a more holistic approach when examining and interpreting human remains from passage tomb contexts can help to elucidate social paradigms from a distant past.
Period30 Aug 2023
Event typeConference
Conference number23
LocationBelfast, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational