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New project on early Neolithic cemeteries receives funding

Posted on 12 June 2020

Penny Bickle and colleagues receive support from the Gerda Henkel Foundation and the National Environmental Isotope Facility (NEIF)

Graph showing calibrated radiocarbon date, date unrelated to content of story

A joint project between the University of Tübingen and York (led by Dr. Penny Bickle in York), with collaborators in Spain and the Czech Republic, has received funding from the Gerda Henkel foundation and the National Environmental Isotope Facility (NEIF). The project will investigate early Neolithic funerary practices at cemetery sites from Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, examining change over time.

As well as carrying out new strontium isotope and artefact analyses, the project has been awarded 50 radiocarbon dates thanks to NERC's radiocarbon fund. Previously it has been hard to assess whether diversity in burial practices at these sites represents change over time or contemporary differences among the population. These dates will help us to model the chronology of the cemeteries in refined detail, providing an important insight into the social diversity of early farmers. The results will have implications for how we understand the beginnings of persistent social inequality in the Neolithic.