ESTONIAN ACADEMY
PUBLISHERS
eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
PUBLISHED
SINCE 1997
 
Archaeology cover
Estonian Journal of Archaeology
ISSN 1736-7484 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-2933 (Print)

Fragmented bones tell stories: Viimsi I Early Iron Age tarand grave; pp. 3–26

Full article in PDF format | 10.3176/arch.2022.1.01

Authors
Anu Lillak, Mari Tõrv, Ester Oras

Abstract

Cremation as a burial rite has been in use throughout prehistory. The graves as well as their fragmented content are the main informants reflecting the life and death of past communities in specific eras. So far, the studies of cremation graves in the eastern Baltic have mostly focused on reconstructing grave constructions and analysing artefacts. Far less attention has been paid to the skeletal material, especially to their value for reconstructing burial customs. In this paper we aim to outline how a detailed investigation of the skeletal material combined with statistical and spatial analysis can reveal burial customs and specific ritual practices, as well as the social status of the deceased. By applying these combined analyses, we were able to determine that both adults, incl. men and women, as well as children were buried at Viimsi I tarand cemetery in Estonia. Furthermore, we could establish specific burial practices centred around the skulls and different firing treatments of different body parts. 


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