Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

A farewell to arms: a deposit of human limbs and bodies at Bergheim, France, c. 4000 BC

  • Fanny Chenal (a1) (a2), Bertrand Perrin (a1), Hélène Barrand-Emam (a1) (a2) and Bruno Boulestin (a3)

Between c. 4500 and 3500 BC, the deposition of human remains within circular pits was widespread throughout Central and Western Europe. Attempts at forming explanatory models for this practice have proven difficult due to the highly variable nature of these deposits. Recent excavations at Bergheim in Alsace have revealed a particularly unusual variant of this phenomenon featuring a number of amputated upper limbs. The evidence from this site challenges the simplicity of existing interpretations, and demands a more critical focus on the archaeological evidence for acts of systematic violence during this period.

Corresponding author
*Authors for correspondence
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

B. Boulestin 2008. Pourquoi mourir ensemble? À propos des tombes multiples dans le Néolithique français. Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française 105: 103–30.

W.C. MacLeod 1929. The origin of servile labor groups. American Anthropologist (new series) 31: 89113.

D.L. Martin , R.P. Harrod & V.R. Pérez (ed.). 2012. The bioarchaeology of violence. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

R.P. Mensforth 2007. Human trophy taking in eastern North America during the Archaic Period. The relationship to warfare and social complexity, in R.J. Chacon & D.H. Dye (ed.) The taking and displaying of human body parts as trophies by Amerindians: 222–77. New York: Springer.

L. Scheuer & S. Black . 2000. Developmental juvenile osteology. London: Academic.

R. Schulting & L. Fibiger (ed.). 2012. Sticks, stones, & broken bones: Neolithic violence in a European perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

P. Villa & E. Mahieu . 1991. Breakage patterns of human long bones. Journal of Human Evolution 21: 2748.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 4
Total number of PDF views: 58 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 435 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 25th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.