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Invisible death rites in the early Neolithic: results of archaeothanatological analysis of Linearbandkeramik funerary practices from settlements

Rites de mort invisibles au début du Néolithique : résultats de l’analyse archéothanatologique des pratiques funéraires rubanées dans des sites d’habitation
Iseabail Wilks, Penny Bickle, Krisztián Oross, Martin Furholt, Maria Wunderlich, Katharina Fuchs, Zuzana Hukelova, Ivan Cheben et Alena Bistáková

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1This poster presents the results of an archaeothanatological study of early Neolithic burials belonging to the Linearbandkeramik (LBK) culture (c. 5600-5000 cal BC). The dataset comprised 56 burials, from the settlements of Balatonszárszó, Hungary, and Vráble, Slovakia. Using high quality photographs from excavations, archaeothanatology was used to identify and categorise mortuary practice. The focus of this project was to identify evidence for diversity and intimacy in the treatment of the body after death. Once categorised, patterns in mortuary practice were considered against age and sex, as well as any other available osteological data, such as pathologies and isotopic values. The results highlight high levels of diversity in LBK mortuary practice, which are arguably minimised by simpler categorisations currently used. This includes evidence for close control over the decomposition process, such as disarticulation focusing on removal of the head or hand. Perhaps most significant is the presence of tightly crouched burials, which are conducive with tight binding of the body. This may indicate an interest in preserving or mummifying the dead, as has been suggested by the presence of similar body positions in archaeothanatological studies of other datasets. The application of archaeothanatology has also suggested new patterns in treatment in relation to age and sex. Male-sexed burials hold lower overall levels of diversity in practice, but were more likely to be involved in controlled disarticulation. The treatment of female-sexed individuals was more diverse, and more frequently involved tight binding indicative of mummification. This practice type also showed a significant correlation with age, more frequently being used to prepare the bodies of juveniles and mature adults. These results are significant to our understanding of sex and age in the early Neolithic, as well as their role within the mortuary sphere.

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Iseabail Wilks, Penny Bickle, Krisztián Oross, Martin Furholt, Maria Wunderlich, Katharina Fuchs, Zuzana Hukelova, Ivan Cheben et Alena Bistáková, « Invisible death rites in the early Neolithic: results of archaeothanatological analysis of Linearbandkeramik funerary practices from settlements »Bulletins et mémoires de la Société d’Anthropologie de Paris [En ligne], 36(S) | 2024, mis en ligne le 23 décembre 2023, consulté le 21 février 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/bmsap/13776 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/bmsap.13776

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Auteurs

Iseabail Wilks

Department of Archaeology, University of York, York, England ; iseabailwilks[at]alumni.york.ac.uk

Penny Bickle

Department of Archaeology, University of York, York, England

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Krisztián Oross

Institute of Archaeology, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary

Martin Furholt

Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology, Kiel University, Kiel, Germany

Maria Wunderlich

Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology, Kiel University, Kiel, Germany

Katharina Fuchs

Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Kiel University, Kiel, Germany

Zuzana Hukelova

Institute of Archaeology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Nitra, Slovak Republic

Ivan Cheben

Institute of Archaeology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Nitra, Slovak Republic

Alena Bistáková

Institute of Archaeology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Nitra, Slovak Republic

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Le texte seul est utilisable sous licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Les autres éléments (illustrations, fichiers annexes importés) sont « Tous droits réservés », sauf mention contraire.

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