Bioarchaeology and Behavior
The People of the Ancient Near East
Publication Year: 2012
While mortuary ruins have long fascinated archaeologists and art historians interested in the cultures of the Near East and eastern Mediterranean, the human skeletal remains contained in the tombs of this region have garnered less attention. In Bioarchaeology and Behavior, Megan Perry presents a collection of essays that aim a spotlight on the investigation of the ancient inhabitants of the circum-Mediterranean area.
Composed of eight diverse papers, this volume synthesizes recent research on human skeletal remains and their archaeological and historical contexts in this region. Utilizing an environmental, social, and political framework, the contributors present scholarly case studies on such topics as the region's mortuary archaeology, genetic investigations of migration patterns, and the ancient populations' health, disease, and diet.
Other key anthropological issues addressed in this volume include the effects of the domestication of plants and animals, the rise of state-level formations, and the role of religion in society. Ultimately, this collection will provide anthropologists, archaeologists, and bioarchaeologists with an important foundation for future research in the Near East and eastern Mediterranean.
Published by: University Press of Florida
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1. On the Tail End of Variation in Late Neolithic Burial Practices: Halaf Feasting and Cannibalism at Domuztepe, Southeastern Anatolia
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Dating to approximately 6500–5000 bc, the Samarra, Hassuna, Ubaid, and Halaf cultures comprise the Late Neolithic of northern Mesopotamia. In this chapter we discuss how data from the Late Halaf site of Domuztepe both conform with and differ from known Late Neolithic mortuary...
2. An Exploration of Infant Burial Practices at the Site of Kish, Iraq
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In the third millennium bc, the city of Kish, located on the Euphrates floodplain in modern Iraq, was the dominant regional polity in Mesopotamia. From 1923 to 1933, the Joint Oxford–Field Museum Expedition to Kish undertook substantial archaeological excavation inside and outside...
3. The Burial Customs of Early Christian Cyprus: A Bioarchaeological Approach
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The purpose of this paper is to dispel some common misconceptions about the burial customs of the Early Christian period in Cyprus through the use of bioarchaeological analysis. Such beliefs would include that all burials from this period have a west-east orientation, that there are no apse burials in churches, and that infants are not buried within the church...
4. A Bioarchaeological Perspective on the Burials and Basilicas of Medieval Polis, Cyprus
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The modern town of Polis is located on the northwest coast of the Republic of Cyprus, approximately 21 miles (36 km) north of Paphos. Located on the coast along the Chrysochou Bay to the east of the rugged Akamas peninsula, Polis sits on a bluff above the Chrysochou River and the...
Condemned to Metallum? Illuminating Life at the Byzantine Mining Camp at Phaeno in Jordan
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The region of Khirbet Faynan in southern Jordan was the site of major mining and smelting operations from at least the fifth millennium bc. Exploitation of copper from the mines became a major industrial operation under Roman and Byzantine rule (Hauptmann 2000; Grattan, Gilbertson...
6. Food for Thought: Isotopic Evidence for Dietary and Weaning Practices in a Byzantine Urban Monastery in Jerusalem
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Biochemistry has proven to be a valuable tool for exploring dietary trends, particularly with the use of stable isotope analysis (Dupras 1999; Feasby 1998; Richards, Mays, and Fuller 2002; Richards et al. 2003; Thomas, Chaix, and Richards 2008; see also Chapter 5 [this volume] for the...
7. Buccal Dental Microwear as an Indicator of Dietary Habits of the Natufian People of El-Wad and El-Kebarah
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The subsistence strategies of human populations are important biological and social indicators of human adaptation and evolution. The Natufian period in the Near East (13,000–10,300 bp), for example, saw the biological changes resulting from an increased reliance on agriculture for...
8. Daily Activity and Lower Limb Modification at Bab edh-Dhra᾿, Jordan, in the Early Bronze Age
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The purpose of this investigation is to document skeletal changes in the lower limb between the Early Bronze IA (EB IA; ca. 3150–2950 bc) and Early Bronze II–III (EB II–III; ca. 2800–2300 bc) at Bab edh-Dhra᾿, a site located on the southeast plain of the Dead Sea in Jordan (Figure 8.1)...
List of Contributors
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Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 22 b&w photos, 15 line art, 17 tables
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Bioarchaeological Interpretations of the Past
Series Editor Byline: Clark Spencer Larsen