Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Grave Concerns-Palaeolithic

The first 'Graves Concerns' session went well, looking at the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic. The first site we looked at was at Shanidar Cave, dug in the 1950s and finding some rare Neanderthal burials:
One skeleton showed that Neanderthals looked after injured people, with one individual having injuries to the face, and the loss of the lower right arm, all healed.

At Sungir we looked at one of the oldest Homo Sapien Sapien burials to be found so far:
Grave goods included thousands of ivory beads, bracelets and pendants, as well as delicate sculptures of a horse and mammoth.

Dolni Vestonice, Czech Republic, is famous for its graves including abundant artefacts from 27-20,000 BC. This included the Venus of Dolini Vestonice:
One skeleton of a woman had a disfigurement of the left side of the skull. In the grave was a carving with the same disfigurement:
Is this the earliest portrait ever found? Also found here is the 'Three People Grave':
The grown male is prone and the adolescent seems to be pointing the womb. Deliberate of accidental? Why is the male prone and the other two supine? Questions we will never answer with certainty.

What we can say is that pre- and post-ice age people had a sense of the after-life and ways of expressing their faith in it through ritual and burial of individuals from their communities.   

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