Colective Burials. Baskets of esparto grass

Primeros enterramientos Pulse para ampliar Cueva de los Murciélagos. sala 7, vitrina 7.3

Prehistory: Neolithic and Chalcolithic (5,600 – 2,200 BC)Salto de línea

The knowledge of the funeral rites of our remote ancestors shows important gaps of information and the remains of burials that have reached out to our days are scarce. In the middle Palaeolithic, burials appear associated with the Neanderthal populations, and once in the Upper Palaeolithic, our species, Homo sapiens, carried out individual inhumations in their own settlement sites.

Peasant Neolithic groups lived in settlements and buried their dead in places nearby. At first they buried people in individual graves, in caves and rock fissures, but over time the individual tomb was replaced by group burials, with many bodies successively placed in caves or chambers made of large stone slabs, rather like family pantheons.

One of these collective burial sites was found in the Cave of Los Murciélagos in Granada. According to the site's discoverer, twelve bodies were found here, arranged in a circle around a female corpse, as well as other bodies scattered across different chambers, with remnants of the clothing, footwear and belongings with which they were buried. These possessions included remarkable personal ornaments and finely woven and decorated baskets of esparto grass, some of which retained strands of human hair and poppy seeds. Some of these objects, deposited as personal grave goods or offerings, are truly unique, like the gold diadem found beside a skeleton. Archaeologists have interpreted this exclusive use of a valuable object as an indication that this egalitarian peasant community was beginning to make social distinctions