Till Death Us Do Part? Human Segmentation In Funerary Practices. The Middle Neolithic Cemetery Cave Of Bom Santo (Montejunto Mountain Range, Portugal)

Antonio Faustino Carvalho, F. Alves Cardoso, Raquel Granja, David Gonçalves

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Abstract

Ongoing multidisciplinary studies of skeletonized human remains from the Middle Neolithic Bom Santo Cave (Lisbon, Portugal) is indicating a very heterogeneous population at various levels (diets, mobility and genetics). The current interpretation suggests that its socioeconomic and funerary territories encompassed the lower Tagus, its tributaries and the granitic sectors of the Mora–Pavia area in the Alentejo.
Archaeothanatological analyses indicated mutually exclusive funerary practices:
secondary depositions at Room A and primary and secondary depositions at Room B. Polished stone tools are evenly distributed in both rooms, while ornaments, pottery, flint blades and sheep/goat phalanges are almost restricted to Room A.
Such distribution patterns reflects the coexistence of distinct funerary practices in which Room A is part of a much complex behaviour that included primary depositions, exhumation, transportation and re-deposition of human bone remains between different sectors of the cave and/or cemeteries (caves, dolmens) of the above-described territory. Thus, a more dynamic (in its rituals) and wider (in its geography) set of funerary practices than usually perceived — in which
the intentional segmentation of human skeletons is attested — seems to have taken place at the onset of megalithism in central-southern Portugal.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFragmentation and Depositions in Pre and Proto Historic
Subtitle of host publicationPortugal
EditorsAntónio Valera
PublisherNúcleo De Investigação Arqueológica (Nia) Era Arqueologia S.A
Pages71-83
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978-989-98082-3-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Neolithic
  • population studies
  • funerary practices
  • segmentation

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    Carvalho, A. F., Alves Cardoso, F., Granja, R., & Gonçalves, D. (2019). Till Death Us Do Part? Human Segmentation In Funerary Practices. The Middle Neolithic Cemetery Cave Of Bom Santo (Montejunto Mountain Range, Portugal). In A. Valera (Ed.), Fragmentation and Depositions in Pre and Proto Historic: Portugal (pp. 71-83). Núcleo De Investigação Arqueológica (Nia) Era Arqueologia S.A.