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Assembling the Dead, Gathering the Living: Radiocarbon Dating and Bayesian Modelling for Copper Age Valencina de la Concepción (Seville, Spain)

García Sanjuán, Leonardo; Vargas Jiménez, Juan Manuel; Cáceres Puro, Luis Miguel; Costa Caramé, Manuel Eleazar; Díaz-Guardamino Uribe, Marta; Díaz-Zorita Bonilla, Marta; Fernández Flores, Álvaro; Hurtado Pérez, Víctor; López Aldana, Pedro M.; Méndez Izquierdo, Elena; Pajuelo Pando, Ana; Rodríguez Vidal, Joaquín; Wheatley, David; Bronk Ramsey, Christopher; Delgado-Huertas, Antonio; Dunbar, Elaine; Mora González, Adrián; Bayliss, Alex; Beavan, Nancy; Hamilton, Derek; Whittle, Alasdair

Assembling the Dead, Gathering the Living: Radiocarbon Dating and Bayesian Modelling for Copper Age Valencina de la Concepción (Seville, Spain) Thumbnail


Leonardo García Sanjuán

Juan Manuel Vargas Jiménez

Luis Miguel Cáceres Puro

Manuel Eleazar Costa Caramé

Marta Díaz-Guardamino Uribe

Marta Díaz-Zorita Bonilla

Álvaro Fernández Flores

Víctor Hurtado Pérez

Pedro M. López Aldana

Elena Méndez Izquierdo

Ana Pajuelo Pando

Joaquín Rodríguez Vidal

David Wheatley

Christopher Bronk Ramsey

Antonio Delgado-Huertas

Elaine Dunbar

Adrián Mora González

Alex Bayliss

Nancy Beavan

Derek Hamilton

Alasdair Whittle



The great site of Valencina de la Concepción, near Seville in the lower Guadalquivir valley of southwest Spain, is presented in the context of debate about the nature of Copper Age society in southern Iberia as a whole. Many aspects of the layout, use, character and development of Valencina remain unclear, just as there are major unresolved questions about the kind of society represented there and in southern Iberia, from the late fourth to the late third millennium cal BC. This paper discusses 178 radiocarbon dates, from 17 excavated sectors within the c. 450 ha site, making it the best dated in later Iberian prehistory as a whole. Dates are modelled in a Bayesian statistical framework. The resulting formal date estimates provide the basis for both a new epistemological approach to the site and a much more detailed narrative of its development than previously available. Beginning in the 32nd century cal BC, a long-lasting tradition of simple, mainly collective and often successive burial was established at the site. Mud-vaulted tholoi appear to belong to the 29th or 28th centuries cal BC; large stone-vaulted tholoi such as La Pastora appear to date later in the sequence. There is plenty of evidence for a wide range of other activity, but no clear sign of permanent, large-scale residence or public buildings or spaces. Results in general support a model of increasingly competitive but ultimately unstable social relations, through various phases of emergence, social competition, display and hierarchisation, and eventual decline, over a period of c. 900 years.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date May 19, 2018
Publication Date May 19, 2018
Deposit Date Dec 3, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jan 15, 2019
Journal Journal of World Prehistory
Print ISSN 0892-7537
Electronic ISSN 1573-7802
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 2
Pages 179-313
Public URL


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© The Author(s) 2018.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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