Ritual, Religion and Ceremony

There continues to be a lack of evidence for ritual and mortuary practices across North West England, the evidence for bog bodies being a notable exception (Brennand 2006). However, at Poulton (Ch) ritual activity was attested through two dog burials and the deposition of an iron adze. Human remains comprised a small assemblage of fragmentary bone recovered from domestic refuse and three vertebrae from a neonate, the latter possibly comprising further evidence for ritual activity (Cootes, Axworthy, Jordan & Thomas 2018). A Bronze Age burnt mound at Nether Wasdale in Cumbria, comprising several pits and a posthole, produced evidence for later re-use in the Iron Age and dates from the early medieval period (OAN 2016).

The continuing invisibility of Iron Age human remains in the North West is intriguing, bog bodies excepted. There is a notable lack of Iron Age evidence from earlier prehistoric burial sites even at those sites which were repeatedly utilised for ritual activity from the Neolithic into the early, middle and later Bronze Age. Iron Age human remains are also absent from cave sites in the region, both those used for earlier prehistoric burials and for those used for Romano-British interments. This further strengthens the impression that Iron Age funerary, burial and corpse deposition traditions were very different to those seen in earlier periods.

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