Keys to the Past

Glossary

Cremation; Cremated bone; Cremated

In many periods the main way of disposing of human remains was by burning them. This is known as cremation. In some cases the ashes were probably thrown to the wind or placed in rivers. In other cases the ashes were buried, sometimes along with grave goods. Cremations were sometimes used in the Bronze Age (2300BC to 700BC) and in the Romano-British period (AD43 to 410). It was also used by some in the early Anglo-Saxon period (AD410 to 700). With the arrival of Christianity cremation fell out of use. It has only begun to be used again in the last century. In some periods we have very little evidence for any burial ceremonies, such as during the Iron Age (800BC to AD43). In these cases it is possible that people were cremated and their ashes disposed of in such a way as to leave no remains for archaeologists to find.

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