Documenta Praehistorica XXXVI

Neolithic Studies 16


Dušan Borić, Jelena Raičević, Sofija Stefanović

Mesolithic cremations as secondary mortuary practices at Vlasac (Serbia)

247-282

DOI: 10.4312/dp.36.16

Abstract

In the course of recent excavations of the Mesolithic-Neolithic site of Vlasac, new light has been shed on the mortuary practices and ritualistic behaviour of the Danube Gorges foragers on the basis of human remains with evidence of diverse treatments of dead human bodies. While the majority of burials from the site were found as articulated and some as disarticulated inhumations, there were also several cremation burials. The aim of this paper is to present the analyses of these burned remains, which were excavated in the course of 2006–2007 field seasons in the Danube Gorges. Some of the cremation pits contained calcified human bones, with charcoal and fragments of broken and burned projectile points. These contexts are compared with similar cremation pits found during the first excavations at Vlasac and other sites in the region in 1970–1971. Finally, we examine a series of plausible interpretations in order to sketch a belief system that was part of these funerary practices at Vlasac throughout the 7th millennium BC.

Izvleček

Nova izkopavanja mezolitsko-neolitskega nadišča na Vlascu in sledovi različnih ravnanj z umrlimi ponujajo nove poglede na pogrebne prakse in rituale pri nabiralcih v Donavski soteski. Poleg skeletnih pokopov so bili odkriti tudi žgani grobovi. V članku predstavljamo rezultate analiz žganih ostankov, ki so bili izkopani v letih 2006–2007. V nekaterih kremacijskih jamah so bile odkrite kalcifirane človeške kosti, oglje in prelomljene in ožgane puščične osti. Te kontekste smo primerjali s podobnimi kremacijskimi jamami, odkritimi med prvimi izkopavanji na Vlascu in drugih najdiščih v regiji v letih 1970–1971. Preučili smo verjetne interpretacije verovanj, ki so bila povezana s pokopnimi praksami na Vlascu v 7. tisočletju BC.

Keywords

cremations; secondary mortuary practice; Mesolithic; Vlasac; the Danube Gorges

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© Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana 2009