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The Iron Age - 700BC-500AD

The Riddle of the Iron Age Dead Religion and Belief

The Riddle of the Iron Age Dead

Although there is ample evidence about how the people of the Iron Age lived, one area that remains clouded in uncertainty - what did they do with their dead?

In contrast to the vast amount known about Neolithic funerary custom, when it comes to the Iron Age a lack of physical evidence has left this area vague.

Recent archaeological work in Orkney, particularly at Minehowe in Tankerness, and the Knowe o' Skea in Westray, is shedding more light on the subject, but there is still a lot not known.

Some excavations have revealed burials in stone cists, where others have shown bodies (or body parts) were "built" into houses - the walls, for example, or under the floor.

At Minehowe in Tankerness, for example, a woman was found buried under the floor of an Iron AGe metalworking structure, while at Howe, outside Stromness, a body was found to have been left in a disused building.

In short, there is still much to be learned about this subject.

Religion and belief in the Iron Age

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