Deposits, waste or ritual remnants?

Among the numerous human remains found in circular pits belonging to the fourth millennium BCE cultures north of the Alps, there are many examples of bodies laid in random (or unconventional) positions. Some of these remains in irregular configurations, interred alongside an individual in a conventional flexed position, can be considered as a ‘funerary accompaniment’. Other burials, of isolated individuals or multiple individuals buried in unconventional positions, suggest the existence of burial practices outside of the otherwise strict framework of funerary rites. The focus of this article is the evidence recently arising from excavation and anthropological studies from the Upper Rhine Plain (Michelsberg and Munzingen cultures). We assume that these bodies in unconventional positions were not dumped as trash, but that they were a part of the final act of a complex ritual. It is hypothesised that these bodies, interpreted here as ritual waste, were sacrificial victims, and a number of possible explanations, including ‘peripheral accompaniment’ or victims of acts of war, are debated.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Where and when does the violence end?

), 295–​314. 43 M. K. Jackes, ‘The Huron spine: a study based on the Kleinburg ossuary vertebrae’, unpublished PhD thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, 1977. 44 See also M.  K. Jackes, ‘Osteological evidence for Mesolithic and Neolithic violence:  problems of interpretation’, in M. Roksandic (ed.), Violent Interactions in the Mesolithic:  Evidence and Meaning (Oxford: Archaeopress –​BAR International Series 1237, 2004), pp. 23–​40. 45 J. Glazier, ‘Mbeere ancestors and the domestication of death’, Man, 19 (1984), 133–​47; J. M. Lonsdale, ‘The

in Human remains in society

placed in buildings, presumably for magical purposes Such finds reported to the author include: dolls (one cut in half ), rats, toads, belt buckles, pipes, coins, knives and garments. Other finds worthy of note include a complete pig skeleton under a floor in Norfolk, a human skull and crossbones from beneath a nineteenth-century public house, an entire donkey buried under a barn, a dried puppy and several dried hares. Many artefacts from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages have also been found concealed in buildings. Stone axes and flint arrowheads were thought to be

in Beyond the witch trials

A similar distinction is made in Sardinia between cogas (lit. ‘cooks’), maleficent witches who are said to spiritually cook and eat the bodies of their victims, who slowly decline in health and die; and janas (from Latin Dianas , ‘followers of Diana’, cf. Neapolitan janare ), beautiful women who live in Neolithic shaft tombs, are expert spinners and weavers, and can on occasion intermarry with humans. 14 Clearly, the

in Witchcraft Continued
Open Access (free)

necessity to feed. If all that were involved in eating was simple and straightforward nutrition, then the only differences of any significance between one group of humans and another would be the result of the availability of food, of climate and material habitat. But even when human society could be seen as closer to the natural life of foraging or hunting animals than is now the case, differences can be seen which cannot be explained by the presence or absence of food, or by the ease or difficulty of its consumption. Closely located communities in the Neolithic Middle

in Cultivating political and public identity
Open Access (free)
A pluralist theory of citizenship

is neither a primary normative requirement for democracy nor a historically invariable condition. What we know about early human societies of nomadic hunters and gatherers suggests that their relation to territory was radically different from that of any political order after the Neolithic agrarian revolution. In our present world we do find non-territorial forms of democracy; some of them are institutionally established and complement a

in Democratic inclusion