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Ref ID: 26806
Ref Type: Journal Article
Authors: Lara, Myra
Mijares, Armand Salvador B.
Satumbaga, Dawn
de Castro, Llenel
Ramos, Jeanne
Recto, Evangeline
Title: Archaeological recognition of mortuary behavior in Callao Cave, northern Luzon, Philippines through taphonomic analysis of isolated human remains
Date: 2017
Source: Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Abstract: Fragments of human bones were encountered scattered throughout a layer dated to the Neolithic Period (∼3300 BP) at Callao Cave, northern Luzon, Philippines. A taphonomic analysis of the remains was conducted aimed towards identifying the processes that dispersed and modified the remains and determining whether they represent disturbed skeletons from primary inhumed burials or remains deposited on the ground as either primary or secondary burials. Cortical delamination on many fragments suggests that they had been exposed on the ground. The presence of many lag elements and minimal rounding on fragments suggest that fragments were moved by water flow but their movement had not been extensive. The low amount of re-associated elements and degree of bone fragmentation suggest that, if minimal movement had occurred, the present distribution could have begun with an already disarticulated and fragmented assemblage. On the other hand, the high percentage of hand phalanges could not fully discount the possible placement of complete bodies. Thus, the deposition of whole bodies which later received secondary rites inside the cave is suggested as the most likely explanation of the modifications in the assemblage. The complexity of the practice, although known ethnographically, has not been detected previously in archaeological assemblages, extending current knowledge of mortuary practices in the region. Presence of very few cutmarks suggests possible post-mortem processing of remains. Hematite painting was also detected on bones, typical in secondary burial deposits.
Date Created: 4/11/2018
Volume: 9
Number: 6
Page Start: 1169
Page End: 1186