Value, ranking and consumption in the European Bronze Age
It has been generally observed that in the early sequence of bronze technology, the deposition of artefacts in ritual hoards is more frequent than in burials (Kristiansen 1987). In this chapter, I propose that ritual hoarding is distinguished from burial ritual by the fact that it is linked primarily to a communal ideology, and represents a different form of value from that associated with the burial of outstanding individuals. A difference in value is also expressed in the context of deposition. Hiding artefacts at sacred places, for example, in bogs and in rivers or under large stones, can be contrasted with the public display of wealth offered by the family or group in the burial ritual. Thus the change from ritual hoarding to burial deposition would seem to indicate important social and ideological changes in the evaluation of status.