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1 October 2006
Cash to get answers from Scottish prehistoric graves

Research is to be carried out which will shed new light on the 'Beaker People' - those buried in the prehistoric graves of the north-east of Scotland. Aberdeen University has received more than 70,000 from the Leverhulme Trust to allow analysis of 4000-year-old skeletons and detailed research into the grave goods.
     The collections of beaker pots and associated skeletons in the university's Marischal Museum are among the most important in the UK. The period is seen as a critical point of transition in prehistory. Neil Curtis, senior curator at the museum, said: "They've been studied by a number of scholars including the museum's curator, Professor Robert Reid, a century ago. Using new techniques we can answer questions he would have thought to be impossible."
     The cash will be used to analyse more than 20 Beaker skeletons found throughout the north-east and the grave goods that accompanied many of the remains. The Beaker culture flourished throughout Europe in the early Bronze Age. The Beakers got their name from the distinctive small clay pots or beakers buried with their dead, suggesting an early belief in the afterlife. Beaker burials in the North-east are also associated with the area's recumbent stone circles.

Sources: The Herald, The Scotsman (29 September 2006)

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