Abstract: Burial Mounds: Landscapes of Continuity and Transformation


Burial mounds act as agents in the relationship between prehistoric communities and their landscape and play a crucial role in claiming, gaining and preserving control of the landscape. As such, they were implemented by prehistoric communities through notions of identity and continuity. This lecture addresses the transformation of that role from the early to late prehistoric periods using the area of Croatia as a case study, based on the chronological differences between the burial mounds in continental and coastal areas. Mounds in coastal areas appear as early as the Early Bronze Age, while in continental regions they appear only in the Early Iron Age with a rather abrupt break in the middle of the last millennium B.C. and a very short reappearance in the Roman period. The size, number and distribution of burial mounds were mainly determined by factors from within the social framework of specific communities, which is, to a limited extent, reflected in their contents. The politics of use and re-use of burial mounds in periods following their initial construction is even more interesting in those cases where we can establish the sequence of culturally and/or ethnically different communities in the same area; or where we can establish a large time span between two major occupation periods.

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