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Burial Practices in Neolithic Greece and Anatolia



The aim of this study is the collection of data referring to burial practices of the Neolithic in Greece, Anatolia and Cyprus. These are often fragmentary or very limited, yet they serve as the base of our knowledge of how death was conceived by the first settlers and eventually how their thought had evolved. Neolithic burial practices originate from analogous customs of the Paleolithic and the Mesolithic, to which this study refers whenever necessary.

The geographical limits of the study include the frontiers of the modern Greek State, since no data actually exist further than South Macedonia while they are absent from the region of Thrace as well. In Anatolia an imaginary line has been traced, starting from the sea and the Taurus mountain chain, passing at the East by the sources of Halys River and ending to the Pontic Mountains and the Black Sea, thus separating the Anatolian peninsula from the rest of Asia. It has been judged that Cyprus should be included in the Anatolian ensemble, first because of its geographic coordinates and then for its verified contacts with Anatolia in other cultural fields.

The text is completed by geographical maps, chronological tables, tables of existing data and illustrations. Chronology is discussed in a special chapter.

Difficulty or sometimes impossibility to make integral statistics is due to the fact that bibliography is often poor in furnishing important information.

The indication of the limits of our knowledge in what concerns certain domains has been considered quite important, as well as of some thoughts resulting from the practical and eventually metaphysical perception of death in the Neolithic. Our typology aims to be a modest attempt towards the institution of a method for the isolation of certain essential points rather than for the establishment of any theory.

There has always been a tendency among archaeologists to look for influences between sites or regions. However there is great difficulty to identify an “intrusive” culture in a continental site where cultural frontiers are often not well defined, in opposition to an island culture, the relative isolation of which permits a better perception of its development.

Ethnographic comparisons do not constitute a separate chapter in the present study, because the latter aims principally to furnishing archaeological data than creating an illusionary revival of the past.

Preface | Introduction | Discussion and Conclusions | Images