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Interpreting a ritual funerary area at the Early Neolithic site of Tell Qarassa North (South Syria, late 9th millennium BC)

By Jonathan Santana Cabrera


The analysis of a funerary area dated to the late 9th millennium BC (Early to Middle PPNB) sheds new light on the ritual practice of the first farming communities in Southern Syria. Deceased individuals were buried in oval graves, placed on their side in a flexed position and oriented along an E-W axis. Skulls and, in some cases, long bones were later extracted for certain funerary rituals in which the memory of the deceased was relevant and which were carried out in an abandoned house and its attached courtyard. However, veneration seems to be not the only aim of these practices and many other lines of interpretation (worship, revenge, divination, protection, propitiation, relief, witchcraft, etc.) should also be explored. Secondly, without invalidating the fact that communal and prearranged ritual ceremonies may have existed during the PPN, our study stresses the importance of the funerary practices as the result of numerous rituals repeated on the initiative of small groups of individuals to satisfy diverse and unsuspected needs.

Year: 2015
OAI identifier: oai:localhost:28000/3641
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