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Spatio-temporal variation in mortuary ‘skull cults’ among middle Holocene hunter–gatherers of the Baikal region, Siberia.

Author(s): Andrzej Weber ; Vladimir Bazaliiskii

Year: 2016

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Summary

Middle Holocene hunter–gatherers of the Cis-Baikal region in Siberia (~7500–3700 cal BP) are known for their rich mortuary record. The evidence provided by about 1300 individual burials documented from roughly 150 cemeteries of various size, contains frequent references to the heads of the deceased allocated special mortuary treatment. These ‘skull cults’ include peri-mortem decapitation, post-mortem head or skull removal from the grave or a treatment with fire or red ochre. While much has been written about such mortuary ‘skull cults’ in the Baikal region, either in Russian or international publications, systematic account of this matter is still lacking. The current paper is the first step in the direction to fill in this lacuna of knowledge with some quantitative data assembled in the database developed by the authors. More specifically, the focus of this survey is on spatio-temporal variation with regard to mortuary ‘skull cults’ among the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age groups in Cis-Baikal.


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Spatio-temporal variation in mortuary ‘skull cults’ among middle Holocene hunter–gatherers of the Baikal region, Siberia.. Andrzej Weber, Vladimir Bazaliiskii. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403809)


Keywords


Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America