Publication details

Pieces of people in the Pavlovian: burials, body parts and bones in the earlier Upper Palaeolithic



Year of publication 2019
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Human Remains and Violence
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Upper Palaeolithic; burial; discard; garbage; Europe; taphonomy; mortuary
Description The rich earlier Mid-Upper Palaeolithic (Pavlovian) sites of Dolní Věstonice I and II and Pavlov I (32,000–30,000 cal BP) in southern Moravia (Czech Republic) have yielded a series of human burials, isolated pairs of extremities and isolated bones and teeth. The burials occurred within and adjacent to the remains of structures (‘huts’), among domestic debris. Two of them were adjacent to mammoth bone dumps, but none of them was directly associated with areas of apparent discard (or garbage). The isolated pairs and bones/teeth were haphazardly scattered through the occupation areas, many of them mixed with the small to medium-sized faunal remains, from which many were identified post-excavation. It is therefore difficult to establish a pattern of disposal of the human remains with respect to the abundant evidence for site structure at these Upper Palaeolithic sites. At the same time, each form of human preservation raises questions about the differential mortuary behaviours, and hence social dynamics, of these foraging populations and how we interpret them through an archaeological lens.

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