4.14 Single and Multiple Disposal Modes

This focus attempts to capture the division of sites between those that have a single burial recorded (Code 001), sites that have more than one burial but all of which share the same characteristics (002), and sites which have more than one burial and at least one having different characteristics from the others (009). A caveat must be made about the single disposals: these are recorded as such when only one disposal was found by the excavator. It is not unusual for a site not to be fully excavated, and therefore some of these single disposal incidences may be false if undiscovered burials existed on the site. We have no way of telling. These groups are also used in the detailed studies for section 6 and 4 to trace individual disposal characteristic patterns across time and geographical areas. In particular Code 009 disposals will need further analysis.

The three areas of south west, south and south east have been examined for all five periods from 3500bc-AD43, and the relevant results are set out in Tables 376-390. The section treats disposal types starting from the broadest picture for the whole geographical area over the whole period.

Overall patterns 3500bc-AD43

The summary picture

Table 389 shows single disposal sites as the largest group at 49%, the south west with rather more incidences at 53% and the south with rather less (45%) than the average. The next largest group is multiple varied disposals, the south with more incidences at 34% and the south west with fewer at 26%. Sites with more than one disposal but of a similar kind are third in order of overall incidence at 20%, with little variation among the areas.

The period pictures

The individual periods do show some variations, seen in Table 386. Single disposal incidence starts lowest in incidence at 28% in 3500-2500bc, but nearly doubles to 54% in 2500-14/1300bc. It then appears to begin a gradual decline 46-43-41% over 14/1300bc-AD43, but is still the largest group over those periods. The other two groups seem to vary in their relative incidence, the most clear pattern emerging over 8/700bc-AD43 when they seem to be even - indeed these two periods overall exhibit very similar sets of incidences (a broad 40-30-30% division). Before that period, the multiple varied disposal group has declined from its relative popularity of 39% incidence through 34% in 2500-14/1300bc to 22% in 14/1300-8/700bc. Another interesting variation is in incidence of multiple similar disposals, where the overall average incidence of 20% masks the fact that, except for a low of 13% in 2500-14/1300bc, the type hovers around 30% incidence in the other four periods (28-33%). Large site numbers for one period have resulted in this outcome (Table 385).

Table 387 gives the proportionate distribution of disposal types through the five periods. More than most tables of this kind so far, it shows the disposal types much more closely following the site distribution pattern, except for multiple similar disposal incidences across the 2500-8/700bc timespan. In 2500-14/1300bc this type is less in evidence per site (36:58%), in the period 14/1300-8/700bc the converse is true (25:16%).

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