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Neolithic cave burialsAgency, structure and environment$
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Rick Peterson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526118868

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526118868.001.0001

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Written on the body

Written on the body

(p.125) 6 Written on the body
Neolithic cave burials

Rick Peterson

Manchester University Press

This chapter examines the diversity of Neolithic cave burial practices after around 3800 BC. In this period there is evidence of a secondary burial rite which is focussed on the cranium. There is also one possible example of mummification or the curation of body parts as part of extended funerary practices. Other secondary burial rites can be recognised in a small number of sites. There are also a very small number of primary burials. The most common burial rite in this period is successive inhumation, which is well documented at a number of sites. There are also sites where multi-stage rites of some kind clearly took place, but without sufficiently well preserved evidence to describe them in more detail and other sites where there are Early Neolithic dates from poorly understood single bones. This diversity of burial practice seems to be linked to the fact that all of these different kinds of rite are also attested at other kinds of Early Neolithic site as well as caves.

Keywords:   Early Neolithic, Cranial burial, Secondary burial, Successive inhumation, Multi-stage burial

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