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24 January 2016
9,000-year-old Jordanian skeletons with a strange history

Archaeologists have unearthed a burial site in southern Jordan that suggests the dead were not buried until they had decomposed to skeletal remains. The skeletons were then dismantled and bones of similar types were buried together. Eesearchers are still in the process of excavating the site, called Shkārat Msaied. So far they have found the skeletons of more than 70 people.
     "The body parts have been sorted and buried in collective graves, where we find the specific categories of bones together," Moritz Kinzel, a researcher at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen, said. "It is interesting there are an unusually large number of children buried, ranging from small babies to adolescents. There seems to have been a strong tendency to bury children inside the houses. We do not know if the burials are related to something religious, but there seems to be some kind of ritual behaviour associated with the funeral," Kinzel added.
     Animal bones, including birds, foxes, goats and sheep, have been found buried along with the human remains. The bones were for the most part separated and placed in trunks located inside private homes. "There is, for example, a very fine stone coffin in which the skulls were stacked together at one end and longer bones like those that come from the leg or the arm are located at the other end," said University of Copenhagen researcher Marie Louise Jørkov.
     Kinzel said the excavation of the sites will continue into the foreseeable future.

Edited from CPH Post (20 January 2016)

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