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The Lausitz Culture

  • V. Gordon Childe
Extract

On the continent as in Britain the later phases of the Bronze Age are marked by the spread of large cremation cemeteries generally termed urnfields. One of the several groups of urnfield cultures in Central Europe occupies such a pre-eminent position that it may even claim to be the parent of all the rest. It is known as the Lausitz or Lusatian culture after the area where it is most richly and typically represented—a strip in eastern Saxony and western Silesia.

Here the bodies were cremated in ustrina close to the cemetery, and the ashes, carefully purified from cinders, were enclosed in clay ossuaries or cinerary urns. The ossuary was closed with an inverted dish, but in all early burials a hole was carefully bored in its walls. It is supposed that this aperture was intended to allow the ghost to escape, and hence it has been called a ghost-hole (Seelenloch). The urn, with its cover, was buried in the ground with many accessory vases, presumably containing provisions for the journey into the next world. A barrow might be raised over the tomb, but in all cases the graves form regular cemeteries.

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1 Seger, H.Lausitzer–Kultur’ in Ebert’s Reallexikon;cf. also Červinka ‘ Böhmenund Mähren ’ ibid; Buchtela in Jahrbuch der k.k. Zeniral–Kommission,Vienna,1904 and Mannus, 19, (1927) pp.26ff.

2 Kiekebusch, A. Die bronzezeitliches Dorf Buch bei Berlin.

3 von Richthofen in Mannus, Erganzungsbande iv, pp. 140 ff.

4 Heurtley, A. Antiquaries Journal,1927,pp.4459.

5 Naue, Die Bronzezeit in Oberbayevn; Kraft, Die Kultur der Bronzezeit in Süddeutschland.

6 Reallexikon, sv Hötting..

7 Crawford,Antiquaries Journal,1922,pp.27ff.

8 Mannus,Ergänzungsband v, pp. 50ff.

9 Scarborough.Siiddeutschland.But here there is clearly a cross–current from Central Germany as Kendrick (Druids, p. 39) points out.

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Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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