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Keywords:

  • fourth to second centuries bc;
  • human cremations;
  • lberian Peninsula;
  • ritual patterns;
  • zooarchaeology

ABSTRACT

The study of grave goods, including animal deposits, offers a deeper understanding of social issues. This paper presents the results of the analysis of human and animal bone samples from the Iberian necropolis of El Poblado, Murcia. The examination focusses on 18 deposits of ovicaprids radii and ulnae, mostly of the left side, that were derived from 14 cremation tombs of the 74 studied. By considering the human and animal remains together, it is possible to highlight differences in the rituals of certain graves and variations in animal symbolism related to human sex and age. This provides a new understanding of the social and cultural differentiation that existed in the Iberian communities of this period. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.