Encyclopedia of Geoarchaeology

2017 Edition
| Editors: Allan S. Gilbert

Tombs

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4409-0_149

Synonyms

Burial; Catacomb; Grave; Interment; Mausoleum; Sepulcher; Vault

Definitions

Tomb: Any structurally enclosed interment space or burial chamber.

Introduction

Funerary practices are among the most important elements of social life, and although they focus on the disposition of the dead, they probably tell us more about the living (Bettencourt, 2008). From the simplest pits covered with gravel to the highly elaborate structures of the pyramids in Egypt, tombs provide a wide variety of information about past funerary behavior and its social context. The varied grave goods deposited around the deceased – including jewelry, clothing residues, weapons, tools, cooking equipment, and provisions in association with human skeletal remains – place tombs among the most informative archaeological assemblages for the reconstruction of ancient social structures (Pearson, 2003).

Throughout the world, tombs occur in many forms and incorporate structural aspects that are often unique to each...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ephoreia of Palaeoanthropology & Speleology of Southern GreeceAthensGreece