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The persistent presence of the dead: recent excavations at the hunter-gatherer cemetery at Zvejnieki (Latvia)

Stutz, Liv Nilsson ; Larsson, Lars LU and Zagorska, Ilga (2013) In Antiquity 87(338). p.1016-1029
Abstract
The well-known Mesolithic cemeteries of Northern Europe have long been viewed as evidence of developing social complexity in those regions in the centuries immediately before the Neolithic transition. These sites also had important symbolic connotations. This study uses new and more detailed analysis of the burial practices in one of these cemeteries to argue that much more is involved than social differentiation. Repeated burial in the densely packed site of Zvejnieki entailed large-scale disturbance of earlier graves, and would have involved recurrent encounters with the remains of the ancestral dead. The intentional use of older settlement material in the grave fills may also have signified a symbolic link with the past. The specific... (More)
The well-known Mesolithic cemeteries of Northern Europe have long been viewed as evidence of developing social complexity in those regions in the centuries immediately before the Neolithic transition. These sites also had important symbolic connotations. This study uses new and more detailed analysis of the burial practices in one of these cemeteries to argue that much more is involved than social differentiation. Repeated burial in the densely packed site of Zvejnieki entailed large-scale disturbance of earlier graves, and would have involved recurrent encounters with the remains of the ancestral dead. The intentional use of older settlement material in the grave fills may also have signified a symbolic link with the past. The specific identity of the dead is highlighted by the evidence for clay face masks and tight body wrappings in some cases. (Less)
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Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Latvia, Zvejnieki, Mesolithic, burial practices, archaeothanatology, cemetery, hunter-gatherers
in
Antiquity
volume
87
issue
338
pages
1016 - 1029
publisher
Antiquity
external identifiers
  • wos:000330820000005
  • scopus:84888381914
ISSN
0003-598X
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
839a2047-3919-4966-8b7d-5c14791e9a73 (old id 4376582)
alternative location
http://antiquity.ac.uk/ant/087/ant0871016.htm
date added to LUP
2016-04-01 14:04:51
date last changed
2020-12-15 01:32:29
@article{839a2047-3919-4966-8b7d-5c14791e9a73,
  abstract     = {The well-known Mesolithic cemeteries of Northern Europe have long been viewed as evidence of developing social complexity in those regions in the centuries immediately before the Neolithic transition. These sites also had important symbolic connotations. This study uses new and more detailed analysis of the burial practices in one of these cemeteries to argue that much more is involved than social differentiation. Repeated burial in the densely packed site of Zvejnieki entailed large-scale disturbance of earlier graves, and would have involved recurrent encounters with the remains of the ancestral dead. The intentional use of older settlement material in the grave fills may also have signified a symbolic link with the past. The specific identity of the dead is highlighted by the evidence for clay face masks and tight body wrappings in some cases.},
  author       = {Stutz, Liv Nilsson and Larsson, Lars and Zagorska, Ilga},
  issn         = {0003-598X},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {338},
  pages        = {1016--1029},
  publisher    = {Antiquity},
  series       = {Antiquity},
  title        = {The persistent presence of the dead: recent excavations at the hunter-gatherer cemetery at Zvejnieki (Latvia)},
  url          = {http://antiquity.ac.uk/ant/087/ant0871016.htm},
  volume       = {87},
  year         = {2013},
}