Proposition 12

See note

that beliefs in an otherworld may have existed through prehistory.

The four hypotheses for testing this proposition are:

As these hypotheses are inter-related, they are taken together for testing purposes. The sole evidence for belief in an otherworld is what can be interpreted as physical evidence of efforts to communicate with that otherworld, or to depict it. There is an assumption that some of the surviving physical evidence in the archaeological record has that aim, as opposed to or as well as assisting the soul to journey successfully to the otherworld and survive there (for example by the symbolic setting down of personal grave goods). There is indeed another distinction that may have to be drawn, between disposal activity directed at the world of ancestors and that directed to an otherworld with more general numinous powers to be cultivated or averted.

It is therefore possible that the otherworld may be conceptually one that is in two parts, or it may have been a unity in the minds of prehistoric peoples, but with two objects of interest for the continuing living: the ancestor spirit community and the community of powers that have a supernatural influence on life. The evidence that these prehistoric peoples cultivated an ancestor community has been discussed under previous hypotheses, and found to be a strong possibility, at least in the earlier periods, although the evidence grew weaker as the last period approached. But what is the unambiguous evidence for belief in an otherworld populated by other influential powers that were worth cultivating, and what might these powers be deduced to be? More to the point, perhaps, what criteria would determine what is to be selected as supporting evidence for the belief?

These two criteria are suggested as means of testing for the existence of possible contributing evidence:

Evidence for activity indicative of belief in an otherworld

There are many examples of the use of small pits for the purposes of placing collections of material such as sherds, whole and broken tools, waste flakes, animal bone, human bone fragments (often cranial), antler, nuts, and other items within and outside monuments. These appear to be formulaic collections of domestic artefacts and natural products, and of wild and domestic livestock, a microcosm symbolising the simple elements important to living. The separate placings appear to have a particular objective that is neither domestic nor mortuary (human bone fragments being as symbolic as the sherd or the waste flake), the most likely on anthropological models (Mauss 1970) being a gift returned to the power that lives in the ground which has provided or sustained the objects whose parts form the symbolic offering, in the hope or expectation that support will continue. This support might be termed fertility in the most general sense of a variety of resources continuing to be available to the community necessary for it to survive and prosper. Occasionally colour may be deliberately deployed in such offerings, again a symbol presumably of hope for continuing or returning fertility, although colour interpretation is more risky. These pit deposits occur in mortuary contexts as well.

In all periods flint is a common component of such assemblages, but it is interesting to note that sarsen deposits occur in these settings most frequently in the periods associated with the monumental use of that stone, as if depositing small pieces symbolised the focus of the people on the monuments they were constructing and using, and on the power that they might have been conceived as holding, representing a symbolic gift in return for the benefits that the functions performed in and around these stone constructions were conferring upon them. The practice of pit deposits with more selective contents appears to start in the period 2500-14/1300bc.

Pit digging without deposit of contents under monuments, sometimes refilled, sometimes not, is also suggestive of activity with symbolic purpose. It is capable of several interpretations, among which might be conduct of a dialogue with the otherworld powers below ground to ensure that the use of the site would be acceptable. This interpretation becomes the more probable as evidence accrues to support the possibility that the prehistoric peoples did have regard to an otherworld. Other explanations might range from the pragmatic, such as testing the ground to see if it was workable or the results of the random diggings of domestic or wild animals (such as dogs, foxes and badgers), through to a ritual connected with the disposal process itself. The site with the most compelling evidence to support the hypothesis that such pits did have symbolic purpose is at 262 Honiton 2 and 3, with 141 pits, many with smaller pits dug in them, some with deposits, others without, some with clay capping, some without. There are too many other examples of great variety to ignore, and the highly structured nature of the deposits favours explanations biased towards symbolic communication, rather than the mundane or functional (cf. Cunliffe 1992; Pollard 1995b; Richards and Thomas 1984).

It might be also possible to interpret the deposits of domestic refuse with disposals or in monuments (including ditches) through all time as having the same purpose as the pit deposits, and hence to explain their consistent presence even in periods when other grave goods were scarce. The incidence of such deposits was relatively high at times, suggesting that the action was an important component of symbolic communication - and also, by the use of disposal locations for them, that the ancestor world and the otherworld may have been closely linked in prehistoric belief.

The placing of disposals at certain liminal locations such as ditches and entrances has already been referred to in an examination of differential treatment of age and sex in disposal. In every period human parts, particularly skulls or skull parts and jaws, were so placed but not always with clear domestic or mortuary purpose. The power of these parts as prophylactic symbols is another anthropological phenomenon that cannot be ignored, nor can the frequency with which such placings are found in this and later periods: the skull, cranium or cranial parts, jaw or maxilla far outstrip any other human bone parts in their mention in the archaeological record for every period, but especially in 3500-2500bc. The use of these bones in such contexts is most likely (cf. Wait 1985) to be for preventing adverse powers of an otherworld from having access to and disturbing the process of transition that is going on in the monument. There are other possible mortuary interpretations for such settings: in the case of a bad death, for example, the purpose of the prophylactic placing may be to send the soul of the owner by a different route to its ancestor community, or even to debar it altogether (which brings some risk of an unhappy soul, however, and is less likely). Another explanation might be that the placing wards off the soul from attempts to return to or stay with the body after death, and encourages it to leave for its proper destination.

Separate animal bone deposits are high in 3500-2500bc, usually comprising animal parts of domesticated food stock such as sheep, goat, pig, and ox, or wild (possibly managed) stock such as deer and boar. It is not possible to determine from the context the purpose of the particular deposition - whether a grave good accompaniment, the offering of remains of a funeral feast, a gift set down for an ancestor community or a similar offering to an otherworld community. In the case of the last three, it is hard to see options other than that the animal bone deposits are made as a gift-offering in the expectation of return, as with the pit and domestic refuse deposits. Some ox bone deposits at 406 Stonehenge appear to have been kept for 300 years before deposition, suggesting again that this material had powerful import for the community, the most likely being that its curation promoted fertility (cf. Barnes 1996; Piggott 1962a; Davis and Payne 1993). On one model these particular bones might have been handed down through generations in one local community to promote the well-being of their stock, and then possibly offered in a major gesture to the wider community by symbolic deposition at the great ritual centre that by then may have become the main source of communal influence on the otherworld. It is not possible to distinguish which entity in the otherworld is benefiting from such gifts, but the act implies a belief in a power that is capable of making a return to the community. There are occasional deposits in monuments which could support this hypothesis, such as those at 43 Pipton and 1421 Minchinhampton II, which from their location and content might be interpreted as offerings.

If these various animals were indeed offerings for return in kind, then one possibility is that their occurrence might reflect the economic dependencies of the period as well as possibly any change in belief as to the efficacy of the method. Tables 9.7-1/2 take the wild and domestic animal remains, and implements, to show the incidence of occurrence at sites in each period and explore broad cross-relations, acknowledging that symbolism in ritual is open to a variety of interpretations. The data that the tables contain cannot be strictly correlated as the associations of animal remains and implements in the disposals are not shown.

Period3500 2500 1400 800 100
Total sites 130 1025 284 146 181
Antler2952 161
Deer1536 6 4 4
Bos 2 10 4 2 1
Ox3859 7 14 6
Cow 0 5 0 0 3
Sheep1130 6 17 12
Goat7 71 5 5
Pig18 423 14 13
Boar514 0 1 2
Horse7217 1311
Dog9112 9 5
Dom refuse
Table 355
53 80 22 46 31
Animal assoc
Table 325
41 99 11 24 31
Table 9.7-1: Animal remains site incidence 3500bc-AD43 (count)
Period 3500 2500 1400 800 100
Total sites 130 1025 284 146 181
Whetstone 0 29 3 0 0
Knife 4 86 3 7 6
Arrow 26 72 2 1 4
Bracer 0 2 0 0 0
Wristguard 0 5 0 0 0
Scraper 6 50 5 1 1
Pounder 0 0 1 0 0
Hammer 1 14 2 2 6
Grinder 1 0 1 0 1
Saw 2 11 0 0 0
Quern 0 9 5 9 2
Spindle 0 6 1 7 2
Sickle 0 3 0 1 1
Table 9.7-2: Implements site incidence 3500bc-AD43 (count)

It does not require a percentage analysis to see that in the two earliest periods the occurrence of such tools as arrows, knives and scrapers, parallels the deposition record in Table 9.7-1 of remains of animals which would be hunted or husbanded, and whose products would need appropriate processing. This also fits with the summary picture of the kind of economy outlined for 3500-14/1300bc (section 3, but with 3500-2500bc showing a stronger tendency to make such deposits. However, later periods show interesting differences, with the emphasis in deposits shifting from both wild (but perhaps nonetheless managed) stock and domestic stock, almost solely to domestic stock of cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs; and also to items associated with arable crop production. The notable shift occurs from 8/700bc. The period 14/1300-8/700bc appears to be an exception, a very muted time.

If such animals and products were important bases of the economies of the societies in those periods (which seems likely), and if those societies believed that otherworld powers existed who would respond to gifts of the produce by protecting or promoting the next planting or breeding season, and the next harvest, then one would expect to see such a pattern of presence in the surviving archaeological record. It is there in every period but less strongly in 14/1300-8/700bc, for which an explanation must be sought. It is as if some other economic or social imperative is at work at that time, since differences appear in so many other characteristics of the disposal record for the period.

There may have been other manifestations of appeal to an otherworld through the deposition of rich or rare goods, although other symbolic meanings may underlie these. These rich deposits are rarely made in 3500-2500bc, but explode in 2500-14/1300bc, subsiding to a trace in 14/1300-8/700bc (but there are alternative modes of deposition then), and growing again (but to nothing approaching the 2500-14/1300bc incidence) through 8/700-100bc and 100bc-AD43. These surges might be linked with profitable trading relationships which flourished in particular periods (as some include more exotic materials such as amber and faience), but the evidence to support this is scant save for 100bc-AD43. As likely an explanation is the accumulation of wealth by an elite who sought in those three particular periods to consolidate or affirm their position by returning some of their gains as gifts to the otherworld so that they in turn would promote and protect their prosperity.

Period 3500 2500 1400 800 100
Total sites 130 1025 284 146 181
Mace 2 5 0 0 0
Axe 10 47 1 4 1
Dagger 0 126 2 3 4
Sword 0 2 0 4 6
Helmet 0 0 0 1 0
Shield 0 1 0 4 4
Spear 0 6 2 6 8
Gold 0 25 0 2 0
Silver 0 0 0 2 6
Copper 0 21 1 0 5
Faience 0 33 1 0 1
Amber 0 63 1 2 4
Necklace 0 10 0 2 1
Bead 8 130 7 14 39
Brooch 0 1 1 9 47
Enamel 0 2 0 1 1
Table 9.7-3: Rich goods incidence 3500bc-AD43 (count)

There are some other possible indicators of belief in an otherworld. There is the possibility that implicit in the conduct of some aspects of prehistoric medical practice was a view of the otherworld as sometimes maliciously gaining power over individuals. Trephination or trepanation, the excision of a roundel of cranium to expose the brain, is recorded in the description of human remains on two sites in 3500-2500bc (1670 Winterbourne Monkton 17a, 92 Fussell's Lodge) and eight sites in 2500-14/1300bc (465 Amesbury 51, 487 Shrewton 5k, 751 Tarrant Launceston 5, 1023 Foxley Green Beaker Cemetery, 1417 St Cuthbert Out, 470 Amesbury 71, 498 Collingbourne Kingston 6, 502 Collingbourne Ducis 3a), but only once later in 100bc-AD43 (1292 Woodlands 12). There is a risk that an injustice may be done regarding medical understanding and practice in the past, by advancing the hypothesis that trephination was undertaken to release an evil 'spirit' that was causing the patient distress. Those operating may not have been acting in this belief, and to attribute it to them is to risk transferring 19th century views of primitive man into this interpretative context.

It is indeed apparent from osteological evidence that prehistoric society was capable of being very caring of its sick, injured and old. There are disposals of persons of great age and frailty, of persons who had been seriously injured by breaking major bones but who recovered, and of persons both young and old with major illnesses or disabilities (sometimes of very disconcerting aspect, such as hydrocephalism) who could only have survived with the attention, understanding and support of their family and community. This argues more for a practical and civilised approach among prehistoric communities to managing illness or disability than for one based on (for example) a wholly animistic interpretation of the unusual. Trephination need therefore not be explained in that light.

That it was a rare event seems apparent from the record (there even being a double trephination at one site), and the probability is strong that it could only be practised by experts since it required specialist knowledge of anatomy. It also appears geographically largely confined to the major population focus in the south area. That focus was also, however, the location for major ritual monuments, and therefore a link between this rare practice and non-medical practice cannot be excluded (indeed these may be false boundaries in the prehistoric). The site at 487 Shrewton 5k offers some evidence in this direction: the first inhumation was of an adult male who had recovered from a trephination but was buried in a central grave beneath exceptionally large chalk blocks (suggestive of some prophylactic activity); and in a probably contemporary burial at the same site was a younger female who had been buried with her legs severed above the knees, the parts being missing (another possibly prophylactic action). It is possible to argue that reasons other than medical underlay the operation on the man, and the subsequent (or consequent?) treatment of the woman's body. Both trephination and bodily mutilation are rarities, and the coincidence may be too unusual for there not to be a connection. The same site has further unusual characteristics, mentioned later.

The depositing of phallic or other such symbols (such as carved chalk balls) are among the more obvious appeals to otherworld powers to dispense fertility. These are not often found, however, in disposal contexts. One appears in 3500-2500bc in a barrow, three in the next period (at places as varied as Stonehenge, Maumbury Rings and a barrow), two in the next (in a hut floor by the door post, and with a child in a barrow, a doubly rare event) but none thereafter. They seem one among many symbols that were used to promote fertility, and are among the least disputable in intent. It is of interest that they appear in domestic and mortuary contexts, suggesting that the otherworld was to be reached from either location. The placing of pelvic parts in or on the fringes of monuments may have a similar symbolism or, as sometimes happens, the deliberate placing of grave goods on pelvic parts of a whole skeleton as if to associate with the generative power of that part of the body.

Carved or incised stones, or carvings on monument surfaces (such as on the walls of ditches, or stone faces) may be at present undeciphered forms of communication with an otherworld: they occur often enough, and in such contexts as to suggest that they are not to be dismissed as idle scrapings. They seem to be confined to the period 3500-14/1300bc, and are more frequently encountered at henges and causewayed enclosures, although they do occur at barrows. Since henges and causewayed enclosures are often rich in deposits of animal bone and domestic refuse, sometimes set down in more structured fashion than might first appear, it may not be unreasonable to assume that these carved or incised deposits had associated meanings. Of the more notable are the mother goddess figure on a stone at 406 Stonehenge, and the engravings on the chalk ditch sides at 688 Flagstones causewayed enclosure and at 487 Shrewton 5k, the latter already noted for aspects of its disposals. There the side of Pit 1, which contained the trephined male, had a carefully smoothed chalk panel 12cm x 18cm with inscribed close-set parallel lines and wider spaced pairs. What these are communicating is hard to say, but there is a case that they are forms of communication and, from their contexts, communication with an 'otherworld'.

There may be other forms of communication with the otherworld, via the physical patterns of deposition of certain objects in parts of monuments, most notably animal parts and lithics at henges and causewayed enclosures (although examination of a few other monuments is suggestive). There have been shown to be such patterns at 408 Woodhenge and of a complex kind, where material types were set in particular parts of the monument, as if the placing held significance. The occurrence of such collections of material at causewayed enclosures and (later) henge monuments may, in combination with the monument design (which often lends itself to gatherings), suggest that these structures were religious foci with cultivation of a powerful otherworld community as their prime purpose. The more open and loosely designed causewayed enclosures may have given way to the more controlled use of space in the generally smaller henges, the latter perhaps managed by a group emerging with that function over time.

There are examples of all of the activities discussed above at non-disposal sites.


The existence of buildings or areas with neither domestic nor primarily mortuary function is suggestive of functions devoted to the otherworld. These structures (often called shrines) are not common but are found in all periods, suggesting that society throughout prehistory was capable of moving between the more simple concept of cultivating benevolent ancestor communities and sophisticated beliefs in otherworld powers which could be manipulated to serve the society's benefit.

[3500-2500bc] Enclosure evidence at 30 Crickley Hill (where there were no human disposals) suggests that there was a shrine at the site centre approached by a well-trodden pathway. The building was rectangular and by it were two clay-lined troughs with bone, antler, flint and sherd contents, capped by a stone layer, and a hearth. This being neither a domestic nor a mortuary structure suggests, on the evidence, its devotion to other powers, the contents of the troughs paralleling the contents of other pit deposits, and suggesting a similar intent in use of the shrine to that of the other deposits - communication with another world that could be manipulated by gifts. The evidence for heavy use suggests that belief in the value of such attention was strong.

[2500-14/1300bc] The sites of 406 Stonehenge, 400 Avebury Henge, 408 Woodhenge, 726 Maumbury Rings, 731 Mount Pleasant and 876 Dorchester-on-Thames Site XIII provide examples of major sites with a community focus whose purposes seem certainly neither domestic nor primarily mortuary. Some hold disposals, but they also have much other depositional evidence suggesting activity directed at otherworld powers, especially if taken in the context of the activity already referred to in this section. The orientation and design of some of these sites also suggests that the celestial played a strong part in belief in this period, and that measurement of time into broad segments related to the cycle of the year, and to the initiation or closure of community-oriented activity of several possible kinds was bound into the belief system. It is possible that the foci of key seasonal points and of fertility came together at these sites for major communal events. The detailed evidence on these sites supports this conjunction, and their location in the midst of ritually very rich environs is another strong indicator.

[14/1300-8/700bc] At 1196 Trethellan Farm there was a small stone building in the settlement which had no clear domestic purpose, was clearly frequently used, and was kept very clean (although having organic deposits), having an off-set entrance. This may have been, but is not certainly, a settlement shrine if taken in the context of a great deal of apparent ritual activity on the site.

[8/700-100bc] At 1198 Danebury there was a group of three buildings at the centre of the hill fort with associated animal burials. At 13 South Cadbury there were several shrines, one associated with the burial of horse and cattle skulls, and a square building near the site summit associated with 20 burials of young animals (piglets, lambs, and - mostly - calves). At 1445 Prebendal Court there appears to have been a shrine within the ramparts of the Iron Age fort underlying Aylesbury, with accompanying animal burials.

[100bc-AD43] At 1333 Maiden Castle Shrine there appear to have been several infant burials as votive offerings. Other shrines in the period existed at 1229 Frilford and at 1332 Uley (where there were three such buildings), at both of which sites there were disposals. Sites in southern Britain with shrines in this period and not in the Gazetteer include: Hayling Island (Downey ">1980), Slonk Hill (Norris et al. ">1948-49; Hartridge 1978), Lancing Down (Bedwin 1981b), and Heathrow Airport (Grimes 1948).

The conversion of a structure with one function to serve as the medium of communication with the otherworld may be the case with well and mine disposals. These occur very occasionally, and are not in evidence in every period. When such a disposal is accompanied by bones of pig, ox, goat, fox and roe deer, it might appear that similar pleas are being made, in these cases perhaps directed at the continuing supply of the material drawn or excavated. A similar use of deep natural fissures, possibly for such communication, occasionally occurs; these sometimes being large open fissures on open sites, sometimes small fissures on monument sites. Cave disposals may have the same intent.

The most striking examples of the use of excavated shafts in a formal setting occurs in 2500-14/1300bc at 726 Maumbury Rings, some of these being 10m deep. If the smaller pits with their contents described above may reasonably be interpreted as having communication purposes, then the scale and contents of the pits at Maumbury and the form of the monument suggest that this site was a major focus for a community seeking to influence powers of an otherworld (just as at Stonehenge). In 100bc-AD43 at 1330 Heywood another shaft contained sherds, a cow skull, a horse skull, and parts of four human skulls, and there was a more varied shaft deposit at 1329 Greenhithe.

From the celestial and natural to the anthropomorphic and animistic?

Examples of anthropomorphism do exist, but they are few and appear with one exception to be confined to the period 2500-14/1300bc. At 406 Stonehenge there were carved on Stone 29 a torso and on Stone 57 a very stylised mother goddess figure. At 442 The Grange, Beckhampton and associated with the child burial was a large flat piece of chalk 10cm x 9cm with grooves, as if carved finger outlines. At 204 Davidstow Moor XXVI (22) a 'face stone' was found, a piece of slate carved with a face. At 314 West Harptree 8 the inner face of the south west cist wall slab was decorated with 6 foot markings (single feet of 4 adults and 2 children c. 3-4 and c. 10-12), as well as 9-10 cup marks and a horn device. At 810 Folly Field, on the sand infill of the coffin 0.2m above the cremation heap was a clean, deep chocolate brown, compact sand contrasting with the grey-yellow sand fill. The excavator identified this as having an anthropomorphic form and crouched in posture. Some of the food vessel sherds fell onto the shape when the coffin cover (which also protected the vessel) collapsed. These taken together have been interpreted as a representative inhumation.

The one site outside 2500-14/1300bc is at 1231 Ham Hill (100bc-AD43) where a cremation burial was found inside the hill fort in a pit c. 0.75m deep whose sides were whitened with chalk and the mouth sealed with clay. (Neither chalk nor clay is native to this soil.) Associated with the burial were: a mid-1st century AD anthropoid-hilted dagger with a bronze sheath, a bronze buckle, two bronze suspension rings, an iron adze and sickle, an iron arrow head with hammered over socket, flat and dome-headed bronze studs with nails, and a length of bronze binding possibly for a shield. There were also many fragments of plain and decorated Iron Age pottery now lost.

The carvings at Stonehenge (if of the period) might be associated with communication with an otherworld, but the others may have purposes ranging from those usually associated with grave goods to the more personal (as with the human hand and foot carvings). The rarity of such deposits, and in some cases their uncertain meaning, suggests that anthropomorphism did not play a significant part in belief, in the sense that the peoples did not see the animistic beings as having human form in the earlier periods. However, in later periods (but not on burial sites) there is evidence for Celtic belief in animistic beings within a wider religious ambit (Ross 1967).

On the other hand, there is more evidence for the importance of celestial certainly in the earlier periods as evidenced by monument and body orientation (see Tables 9.6-5/6/7 and commentary), entrance orientation, and in the design of the major henges (where solar and lunar powers may have been the focus). The celestial focus may have faded in importance, however, in the later periods as it is less visible in disposal processes, although when it was used the same biases were retained in orientations. These continued to favour the segments from NW-NE in declining clockwise order.

The natural, if interpreted as the use of natural material and natural locations in symbolic action, appears to have been a consistent focus for activities expressing belief in an otherworld (through gifts and offerings) through prehistory. Organic and inorganic material was in constant symbolic use, whether in perfect or imperfect form, as a means (it would appear from the context) of gaining or retaining advantage with the help of those powers to whom the gifts were made. The idea of giving so that the gift might be returned in similar kind is a well established ritual formula (Mauss 1970). Places in nature, such as in the ground, in caves, in rivers, or in the air (if the gift were burnt) were nature's receptacles for such gifts.

If shrines, those places for communication with an otherworld, provide evidence for animism as a feature of prehistoric belief, then it appears early in 3500-2500bc at 30 Crickley Hill. The growth in 2500-14/1300bc of major centres of what perhaps could now be called a religion (a term implying existence of a body of organised thinking dedicated to a supernatural or other world, with organised professional exponents leading it), suggests that animism may have developed further in that period, as evidently did so many other features of the societies in Southern Britain at that time. Each period following provides at least one example of a shrine, some on settlement sites, some separate, and more occur as AD43 approaches. The increase in numbers may not mean that animism itself had grown in acceptance over time. It seems on the evidence that animism was there from the start of the period under research. If there were growth in the use of shrines, this may reflect a shift in the locational focus over time, from the disposal location to one that had become more distinctly devoted to the spirit world. If the focus on ancestor communities indeed weakened over time (as evidence has suggested), then a strengthening and sharpening of the focus on the cultivation of a spirit world might have occurred as a complementary action.

It might be possible to relate to this hypothesis the literary evidence in the last period, with its references to the priestly elite of the Druids. Communication with the spirits of the ancestors and with the world of animism generally had always, it may now appear, been a source of power used by the elite. In the earlier periods, this power might have been concentrated in one elite wielding both temporal and spiritual authority. If the distinction between the two sources of power became sharper as prehistory advanced, and if the ancestral focus became less potent, then it is possible that the elite divided into the temporal rulers, and the spiritual, these latter becoming a new source of influence in society. The genesis of this division may well have been in 8/700-100bc, when the dramatic shift in disposal locations took place, although conceivably it might have its roots in 2500-14/1300bc with the development of religious foci initially instigated and controlled by an elite with both spiritual and temporal authority.

It is possible, in summary, to find and interpret evidence that suggests strongly that the natural, the celestial, and animism were present throughout prehistory, but that the celestial may have faded in influence as animism may have grown. There seems little to support the idea of anthropomorphism as having any place in beliefs associated with disposal processes at any time.

With the exception just noted, it would appear that there is a degree of support for all four hypotheses in support of Proposition 12 that beliefs in an otherworld may have existed through prehistory.


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