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Emergence of corpse cremation during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic of the Southern Levant: A multidisciplinary study of a pyre-pit burial

Abstract : Renewed excavations at the Neolithic site of Beisamoun (Upper Jordan Valley, Israel) has resulted in the discovery of the earliest occurrence of an intentional cremation in the Near East directly dated to 7031-6700 cal BC (Pre-Pottery Neolithic C, also known as Final PPNB, which spans ca. 7100-6400 cal BC). The funerary treatment involved in situ cremation within a pyre-pit of a young adult individual who previously survived from a flint projectile injury. In this study we have used a multidisciplinary approach that integrates archaeothanatology, spatial analysis, bioanthropology, zooarchaeology, soil micromorphological analysis, and phytolith identification in order to reconstruct the different stages and techniques involved in this ritual: cremation pit construction, selection of fuel, possible initial position of the corpse, potential associated items and funerary containers, fire management, post-cremation gesture and structure abandonment. The origins and development of cremation practices in the region are explored as well as their significance in terms of Northern-Southern Levantine connections during the transition between the 8th and 7th millennia BC.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-03020126
Contributor : Tejero José-Miguel <>
Submitted on : Monday, November 23, 2020 - 5:01:01 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, December 22, 2020 - 3:48:05 PM

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Fanny Bocquentin, Marie Anton, Francesco Berna, Arlene Rosen, Hamoudi Khalaily, et al.. Emergence of corpse cremation during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic of the Southern Levant: A multidisciplinary study of a pyre-pit burial. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2020, ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0235386⟩. ⟨halshs-03020126⟩

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