Institute of Archaeology


Anna Bloxam

Funerary diversity across the British Beaker period (c.2450-1950 BC)

Anna Bloxam

Email: anna.bloxam@ucl.ac.uk
Section: Archaeological Sciences



Funerary diversity across the British Beaker period (c.2450-1950 BC)

I am investigating the extent, nature, and significance of funerary diversity in the British Beaker period. This period is typically associated with the highly standardised Beaker crouched articulated inhumation rite, which shortly after its arrival into Britain is seen to replace insular Late Neolithic traditions of cremation. Recent aDNA research has indicated that this shift in burial practices corresponds with a dramatic change in the genetic makeup of the population of Britain, with the existing Neolithic population being almost completely replaced by incoming Beaker-associated groups. However, this raises the question of what happened 'on the ground', to peoples and to cultural forms, during the period of transition; I am seeking to address these issues in my research, using the funerary evidence as my starting point.

I am using an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on archaeology, osteology, and statistical analysis of radiocarbon data (Bayesian, SPD, aoristic). A new dataset of 'atypical' burials from the period has been compiled, new osteological analyses have been carried out, and new radiocarbon determinations have been acquired through NERC funding.




  • BA(Hons), Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Bristol, 2011
  • MSc, Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology, University of Sheffield, 2013
    Conference papers

    Disentangling Diversity: Atypical British Beaker Burials in their European context. European Association of Archaeologists 2018 (forthcoming), Barcelona, Spain

    Death by Statistics: Using radiocarbon modelling approaches to assess changing burial practices. UCL Lunch in the Lab Seminar 2017, London, UK

    Unpacking the British Beaker Phenomenon: Funerary Diversity in the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age. Bronze Age Forum 2017, Cork, Ireland

    Anarchy in Death? Searching for the 'missing' funerary diversity of the British Chalcolithic. NEBARSS 2016, London, UK

    Cremation across the British Beaker period: Continuity or Change? (poster). European Association of Archaeologists 2016, Vilnius, Lithuania

    Organiser: Cremated remains in archaeology: New methods, findings, and interpretations (session TH5-04). European Association of Archaeologists 2016, Vilnius, Lithuania

    Organiser: Lunch in the Lab, UCL IoA Archaeological Sciences Section seminar series, 2016-18. London, UK