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Essex Through the Ages
Iron Age Essex
  Death and Burial in the Iron Age
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Death and Burial in the Iron Age

Until the later part of the period, Iron Age burial rituals are rarely evidenced in archaeology. The earliest burials seem to represent a practice of burying people within settlements in jars inserted into boundary ditches or in former storage pits. This changes radically in the later period, with the adoption of communal cemeteries for cremation and more occasionally inhumation, as seen at Mucking and Ardale School.

Cremation seems to be an innovation of around 50-25 BC and is invariably associated with Belgic pottery. Sites are still relatively rare and distributed around the edges of the county, so it seems unlikely that cremation took over from the “invisible” rites that had been used before. At the time the rite was used in Gaul and the Rhineland and its adoption in this country, accompanied by rectangular funerary enclosures, may represent the deliberate adoption of a European fashion of burial, perhaps influenced by refugees from the Gallic wars fought on the continent between natives and Romans.