'A 'good death': the life and times of an experimental Neolithic house and its reception in the village of Nebelivka, Co. Kirovograd, Ukraine

Bisserka Gaydarska, John Chapman, Marco Nebbia, Stuart Johnston


Thousands of archaeological fieldwork projects must have stories about the interactions between their host village and the Project, although such accounts rarely make it to publication. The Anglo-Ukrainian Trypillia Megasites Project differs from many others in that we developed a closer relationship than usual with the villagers of Nebelivka, Ukraine, largely because of an experimental house-building and -burning operation that involved a number of villagers, from young reed- and hazel withy-collectors to the village Mayor.


In this article, we weave together the different threads of actions, decisions, agendas and attitudes of the different stakeholders (team, villagers, politicians, journalists, other villagers, conference delegates etc.) in respect of the Project's experimental programme, focussing on the day of the house-burning, with its spectacular multi-sensory results. In conclusion, we reflect upon the application of the question 'what is a good death?' to a prehistoric house, taking into consideration the varied views of the participants on this question.


house-building; house-burning; experimental archaeology; village of Nebelivka; Trypillia group; Neolithic; Ukraine; national media; local media; community engagement

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.23914/ap.v9i1.241


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