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CHAMBON Philippe

MNHN, Musée de l’Homme, 17 Place du Trocadéro

par Chambon Philippe - publié le , mis à jour le

Statut : Directeur de recherche, CNRS

Contact : philippe.chambon[@]
tel : +33 (0)1 73 78 28 16

Équipe de recherche : Anthropologie évolutive

Thèmes interdisciplinaires de recherche : Pratiques funéraires néolithiques-Neolithic burial practices
Aires géo-culturelles : Europe occidentale, Nubie — Néolithique

key words : Archaeology of death, burial practices, grave, Neolithic, funerary norm, conception of death
mots-clés : sépulture, Néolithique, norme funéraire, perception de la mort

Domaine de recherche :
After a PhD defended in 1999 (Université Panthéon-Sorbonne), I entered the CNRS (UMR 7041) as a researcher in 2001, with the program "dealing with the dead, considering the death during the Neolithic". In June 2012, I defended a « habilitation à diriger des recherches » at the Université de Bordeaux 1. In 2016, I joined UMR 7206.
How is the profound ideological transformation that accompanies the Neolithic revolution reflected in the perception of the intangible reality that is death ? The basis of my analysis is the skeleton and the surrounding grave. My methods include all of the techniques developed by the French school’s “field anthropology”. My research intends to create an archaeology of behaviour, a prehistoric ethnology.
In order to compare funeral choices, I employ a number of converging methods. A diachronic approach allows to questioning of the transition from one practice to another, from one ideology to another, during the three millennia of the Neolithic in Western Europe. In parallel, a focus is placed on consecutive and very different moments (as pertains to burial practices) : Middle Neolithic is regarded as a period of extreme division of behaviours, and in contrast to this, the end of the Neolithic is interpreted as a time of unification. Does this fragmentation or this homogeneity reflect an actual contrast in the perception of death between these two periods, or does it imply that burial practices and ideology of death are not necessarily so closely linked ? Finally, the last axis of my reflexion is the value of funeral choices, and the manner in which, without written or oral sources, vestiges and their analysis can lead us to an understanding of the funeral ideology of prehistoric populations.