4.2 Disposal Locations

The analysis of disposal locations considers the places where human remains have been deposited or occur. It broadly divides locations between settlement or occupation sites, and sites set in open countryside. It uses four codes to distinguish between types. Code 003 denotes a disposal deliberately made in a feature on an occupation site (like a pit), and 004 a disposal made without any apparent constructed receiving feature on such a site (like the ground surface). 005 denotes a disposal made in a structured feature in open landscape (like a pit, or a mound), and 006 a disposal made without any apparent receiving feature on such an open site.

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 16-30. The section treats disposal location starting from the broadest picture for the whole geographical area over the whole period and links to detailed discussion on individual areas.

Overall patterns 3500bc-AD43

The summary picture

Table 29 first gives the summary picture for the whole timespan. The three areas all show a heavy bias (ranging from 88-92%) towards use of open landscape sites as disposal locations. Within that category, the structured sites dominate (70-87%), with the south area making the most use of them at 87%. The south west and south east areas show broad similarities overall.

Table 30 shows the comparative use across areas of a location type. These percentages indicate that, over the whole timespan, the south area has double the incidence of use of structured disposal sites than the south west and south east in each of the settlement and open categories. On the other hand, the south west and south east lead the south in the use of unstructured sites, particularly open countryside sites. The figures are biased by the dominance of south site numbers in the research selection, southern sites making up 47% of the whole total in the Gazetteer.

The period pictures

The next body of evidence breaks down the last data into the five separate periods, but combines it for the whole area treated. Table 26 indicates some changing patterns through time. There seems to be a definite shift between 14/1300-8/700bc and 8/700-100bc, away from open countryside disposals to settlement disposals. Up to 8/700bc open site disposals occur on 93-99% of sites, but this drops to 47% in 8/700-100bc, only recovering to 67% in the final period. Settlement disposal rises from low percentages over 3500-8/700bc (2-8%) to 84% in 8/700-100bc and 69% in 100bc-AD43. The disposal pattern over 8/700bc-AD43 over the whole geographical area is also more even across the four types of location, the notable event being the very significant change in disposal location already remarked upon.

Table 27 analyses each location type down through the five periods. The figures are biased by the larger number of sites recorded in the Gazetteer for 2500-14/1300bc. The figures show from a different angle how use of settlement sites grew considerably after 8/700bc, and how the incidence of open sites dropped dramatically from the same time. There does seem, however, to have been a move in 100bc-AD43 back to using unstructured open locations for disposals (31% for the period in Table 26).

Select the Detail button for a break-down by area


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