Insights into the Funerary Practices in the Dolmen of Cabecinha (Figueira da Foz, Portugal)


  • Ana Maria Silva University of Coimbra, Research Centre for Anthropology and Health, Portugal



Megalithic tombs, burial practices, human bones, dolmen, Chalcolithic, central-west of Portugal


The dolmen of Cabecinha in the region of Figueira da Foz (Coimbra, Portugal) was excavated at the end of the 19th century by António dos Santos Rocha. This tomb belongs to a Megalithic necropolis of c. 21 dolmens in Western-Central Portugal and was explored and published between 1880 and 1909. The aim of this contribution is to present the human bone collection of the Megalitho da Cabecinha, cross-referencing this data with the original available documentation from the excavation and the chronology obtained from direct radiocarbon dating of a human bone fragment. This approach is adopted to get insights into the funerary practices, and the biological and pathological profiles of the individuals deposited in the dolmen. The most relevant information obtained pertains to the mortuary behaviour, where a unique funerary practice for this Megalithic necropolis was identified. In each corner of the irregular polygonal chamber, an adult individual was deposited in crouching or squatting position in sandy sediment and surrounded by small flat limestone slabs. All but one individual was associated with votive items.


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01.06.2021 — Updated on 25.11.2021

How to Cite

Silva, A. M. (2021). Insights into the Funerary Practices in the Dolmen of Cabecinha (Figueira da Foz, Portugal). Documenta Praehistorica, 48, 328–339.