An archaeometric study of Balearic limeburials: analyzing an enigmatic funerary practice of the Balearic protohistoric communities.

Een archeometrische studie van Balearische kalkbegravingen: de analyse van een enigmatisch funerair gebruik door de Balerische protohistorische gemeenschap.
Start - End 
2024 - 2028 (ongoing)
Department of Archaeology
Other institution(s) 
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Research Focus 



The Balearic islands, Mallorca and Menorca, were characterized by a specific funerary ritual during the Iron Age which used fragmented limestone at the cremation process. These cremated remains and lime fragments were afterwards deposited with funerary goods in caves and rock shelters. The aim of this study is multifold and wants to unravel the different questions on this unique practice. When was cremation introduced on the Balearic islands and how developed this practice into a ritual with the use of limestone? We want to study the technological skills necessary to perform this cremation and how the lime and bone packets in the caves came to be. By using strontium and oxygen isotopic analyses, the
origins of the communities practising this funerary ritual on the islands will be determined. However, other funerary practices of primary and secondary inhumation were also existing at the same time on both islands. By studying the strontium signals from both the limeburials and the inhumation graves we want to verify if different communities where using different funerary practices as a potential way of expressing identity or that other social reasons played a role in the use of different funerary habitats during the Iron Age.



Phd Student(s)


Christophe Snoeck

Vrije Universiteit Brussel