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Disturbing the dead. Archaeothanatological analysis of the stone age burials at Zvejnieki, Latvia (excavated 2006–2009)

Nilsson Stutz, Liv LU and Larsson, Lars LU (2016) In Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 10. p.715-724
Abstract

The Zvejnieki burial ground in northern Latvia is one of the largest concentrations of burials from the Mesolithic and Neolithic in Northern Europe. The 308 burials, dominated by primary inhumation, excavated in the 1960s and 1970s have become important references for understanding the hunter-gatherer mortuary practices in the region. Recent excavations, implementing a taphonomy-focused archaeothanatological protocol revealed 26 additional burials. The analysis confirmed important aspects of the patterns already observed at the site, such as primary inhumation, multiple depositions, and the occasional practice of wrapping the body before disposal. The analysis also revealed previously ignored patterns of systematic disturbance. By... (More)

The Zvejnieki burial ground in northern Latvia is one of the largest concentrations of burials from the Mesolithic and Neolithic in Northern Europe. The 308 burials, dominated by primary inhumation, excavated in the 1960s and 1970s have become important references for understanding the hunter-gatherer mortuary practices in the region. Recent excavations, implementing a taphonomy-focused archaeothanatological protocol revealed 26 additional burials. The analysis confirmed important aspects of the patterns already observed at the site, such as primary inhumation, multiple depositions, and the occasional practice of wrapping the body before disposal. The analysis also revealed previously ignored patterns of systematic disturbance. By focusing on the disarticulated remains and on establishing the sequence of disturbances, the study concluded that the disturbance of older burials must be understood not as accidental but as an integral and meaningful part of the mortuary practices that can be tied to a concern with permanence of places in the landscape at the transition to increasing sedentism among the Neolithic populations in the Eastern Baltic.

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organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Archaeothanatology, Body, Burial, Fragmentation, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Ritual
in
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports
volume
10
pages
10 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:84992467545
ISSN
2352-409X
DOI
10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.06.034
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
9a3b6b70-5c38-42b9-b40d-43ef7159a133
date added to LUP
2017-01-11 14:28:14
date last changed
2017-01-11 14:28:14
@article{9a3b6b70-5c38-42b9-b40d-43ef7159a133,
  abstract     = {<p>The Zvejnieki burial ground in northern Latvia is one of the largest concentrations of burials from the Mesolithic and Neolithic in Northern Europe. The 308 burials, dominated by primary inhumation, excavated in the 1960s and 1970s have become important references for understanding the hunter-gatherer mortuary practices in the region. Recent excavations, implementing a taphonomy-focused archaeothanatological protocol revealed 26 additional burials. The analysis confirmed important aspects of the patterns already observed at the site, such as primary inhumation, multiple depositions, and the occasional practice of wrapping the body before disposal. The analysis also revealed previously ignored patterns of systematic disturbance. By focusing on the disarticulated remains and on establishing the sequence of disturbances, the study concluded that the disturbance of older burials must be understood not as accidental but as an integral and meaningful part of the mortuary practices that can be tied to a concern with permanence of places in the landscape at the transition to increasing sedentism among the Neolithic populations in the Eastern Baltic.</p>},
  author       = {Nilsson Stutz, Liv and Larsson, Lars},
  issn         = {2352-409X},
  keyword      = {Archaeothanatology,Body,Burial,Fragmentation,Mesolithic,Neolithic,Ritual},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {12},
  pages        = {715--724},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports},
  title        = {Disturbing the dead. Archaeothanatological analysis of the stone age burials at Zvejnieki, Latvia (excavated 2006–2009)},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.06.034},
  volume       = {10},
  year         = {2016},
}