Burial sites are frequently found in the context of wetland and underwater sites due to the favourable anaerobic preservation conditions, but also in the coastal zone. The type of burial sites can vary, depending on the period and context.
Burials under water
Tombs are usually encountered in a terrestrial context, but can be also located under water, if the coastline was subject to flooding. A Neolithic tomb under water is known at the shoal Schwarzer Grund in the eastern part of Schleswig-Holstein, which once formed a headland before it became inundated as a consequence of the Littorina Transgression and the post-glacial rebound.
Burials on the coastline There is also a transcendent aspect to the land-sea interaction for coastal populations, as the land-sea dichtomy was also perceived as allegory of a procession of the deceased to the realm of the dead. For this reason it is assumed that particularly burials of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age - megaliths and burial mounds - are situated in close proximity to the sea.
A coastal burial site in Finland. Copyright: Finnish Heritage Agency.
- M. Müller-Wille, Boat-Graves in Northern Europe, in: The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology and Underwater Exploration 3.2, 1974, pp. 187-204.
- J. Peets, Revealing a grim cargo of elite Viking warriors, in: Current World Archaeology 58, 2013, pp. 18-24