KIK-IRPA carries out excavations in Menorca

From 20 September until 11 October the radiocarbon dating lab of the KIK-IRPA, in collaboration with Ghent University and volunteers of AVRA (Antwerp Association for Roman Archaeology), organises an excavation in Menorca, Spain. In the Iron Age, people were buried in a very special way on this island. The bodies were cremated and the skeletal remains were buried in quicklime, a by-product of the cremation. Over the centuries this resulted in a compact lime layer with large amounts of human bones. Early excavations (starting in the beginning of the 20th century) mostly focused on archaeological materials as pectorals, tintinabula, beads and other objects that were sometimes found in the lime. The current excavation in the Cova (cave) de Sa Prior near the village of Es Migjorn Gran has a more analytical approach. The aim is to collect material of the bones and of the remains of lime to carry out a broad research on the formation of anthropogenic lime, the way in which the cremation took place and the exact dating of this special inhumation ritual. There is still much uncertainty about the period in which this ritual was introduced and about the transition from the previous inhumation phase to the cremation phase.