Cremations, urnes and mobility - ancient population dynamics in Belgium

  • Snoeck, Christophe (Administrative Promotor)
  • Tys, Dries (Administrative Promotor)
  • De Mulder, Guy (PI (Promotor, Principal Investigator))
  • Vercauteren, Martine (PI (Promotor, Principal Investigator))
  • Boudin, Mathieu (PI (Promotor, Principal Investigator))
  • Snoeck, Christophe (Collaborator)
  • Annaert, Henrica (Mandate)

Project Details


This project proposes to study the collections of cremated bone found in Belgium dating from the Neolithic to the Early-Medieval period. CRUMBEL greatly improves the current understanding of how people lived in Belgium between 3000 BC and 700 AD. Until now the dominance of cremation as funeral practice from that period in Northern Europe led to limited information on migrations and living conditions. Over the last decade, it has been shown that radiocarbon dates could be obtained from cremated bone. Several Belgian collections have since been investigated providing much more in depth information about the chronology, development, and disappearance of cremation as funerary practice in Belgium. Thanks to the recent demonstration that calcined bone provides a reliable substrate for strontium isotopes, more information can be obtained about population dynamics in Belgium from the Neolithic to the Early-Medieval Period. Belgian collections of cremated remains are plentiful but spread around different Universities, Museums and Institutions. It is, therefore, quite complex to comprehensively study these collections. This project will create a database detailing all these collections, date the most interesting and relevant specimens using radiocarbon dating and will, through isotope analyses, extract information about mobility and lifestyles as well as the evolution of funerary
practices in Belgium since the arrival of agriculture in the Neolithic to the arrival of Christianity.
Short title or EU acronymCRUMBEL
Effective start/end date1/01/1831/12/21


  • funeral
  • Archeology
  • biochemistry
  • religion
  • mobility
  • rituals
  • migration history
  • transperiod

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Regional archaeology


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