Ana Harto Villén

Research Project

Western European Upper Palaeolithic to Neolithic Burial Practices

Supervisors: Nicky Milner and Aimée Little


My research examines the Upper Palaeolithic to Early Neolithic Mortuary record from Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Britain. Data is divided in three categories:

  • Site Context and Features: where it is located, if it is only used for burial purposes or if it has other uses; if in the case of not being only used for burial purposes, was it was abandoned immediately after the burial activity; if it is a cemetery, a shell-midden, etc.
  • Biological Information: sex, age, enthesopathies and pathologies.
  • Ritual Features: if it is a primary or secondary burial, the position and orientation of the body, if there is a grave, if it was sealed, if ochre and/or fire were used, if grave furniture and/or grave goods were found, etc.

This collection of data aims to make a series of inferences on social issues such as gender, childhood, the treatment of people with disabilities, perceptions of and treatment of the human body, ideas of ownership and the use of ancestors as territorial markers. It also seeks to assess whether changes and/or continuities in burial practices between the studied periods can be observed.


I was born in Madrid, Spain. I undertook my Undergraduate degree in Archaeology at the Complutense University of Madrid. 2011-2015, receiving a 10/10 mark in my undergraduate dissertation on the Mesolithic site of Lepenski Vir. I completed my Masters of Arts in Mesolithic Studies at the University of York, 2015-2016 with merit. My Masters dissertation aimed to understand the Upper Palaeolithic-Mesolithic transition in Iberia through burials.


Almansa, J.; Corpas, N; Germán, S.; Alonso, N.; Aragoneses, J.; Bazaco, L.; Fernández, I.; Galán, E.; García, R.; González, A.; Harto, A.; Navarrete, C.; Palomero, G.; Pascual, B.; Sánchez, D.; Santa Cruz, M.; & Vergara, M. (2015): El Patrimonio Mundial a través de las redes sociales del II Congreso Internacional de Buenas Prácticas en Patrimonio Mundial: Personas y comunidades (World Heritage Through The Social Network Of The II International Conference Of Best Practices In World Heritage: People And communities). In Castillo Mena, Alicia R. (ed.): Actas del Segundo Congreso Internacional de Buenas Prácticas en Patrimonio Mundial: Personas y comunidades. Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid: 1071-1087.

Harto Villén, A. (2016): Lepenski Vir: Una revisión crítica y nuevas propuestas de análisis. ArqueoWeb, 17: 61-79.


Contact details

Ms Ana Harto Villén
Department of Archaeology
University of York
The King's Manor