Early Primary Burials

Evidence from Southwestern Asia

Authored by: Anne-marie Tillier

The Routledge Handbook of Archaeothanatology

Print publication date:  April  2022
Online publication date:  April  2022

Print ISBN: 9781138492424
eBook ISBN: 9781351030625
Adobe ISBN:


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Southwestern Asia attracted the attention of the scientific community at the beginning of 20th century with excavations conducted at sites located in Palestine (Skhul, Tabun and Qafzeh) that contained Middle Palaeolithic layers below historical deposits. Interestingly, the Skhul site on Mount Carmel was seen as ‘one of the most remarkable of prehistoric sites by virtue of the cemetery it contained’ (McCown, in Garrod and Bate, 1937: 106). Indeed, ten individuals were uncovered from layer B in front of the entrance of the cave and originally thought to represent single inhumation burials. Later, additional discoveries were added through long-term projects in Northern Israel (Qafzeh, Wadi Amud, Kebara, Hayonim, and, more recently, Manot and Misliya) and Northern Syria (Dederiyeh and El Kowm).

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