Topic: In class we have discussed bio-archaeology, the study of human bones found in archaeological sites, and mortuary analysis, the study of ancient burials and cemeteries. You are an archaeologist and you have excavated four burials from the same cemetery. You have radiocarbon dated these burials and they are all date to the same time (3000 years ago). All four burials are from the same cemetery and these people are from the same society. What can you say about these four people? What can you infer from these material remains? Be sure to answer (1) What is the difference between status and rank? Were these high status or low status individuals? Did they live in a ranked society? How can you tell? (2) What type of social organization did these people likely have? i.e. band, segmentary society, chiefdom, or state? Why do you think that? What other archaeological evidence from outside the cemetery would you need to support this claim? (3) What can you tell about their health? (4) How would you study their diets? (5) What else can you say about these people? Finally, (6) how is the analysis of skeletons and burials different from most archaeological research?
Be creative but also scientific! Make sure to discuss all four burials.
Biological Sex: Male. Age 50-60. Head facing North. Turtle shells placed behind head and pelvis. Marine shell (from 200 miles away) near skull. Deer antlers on neck and under arms. Clusters of beads found near neck, left arm, and pelvis. Falcon talon and three badger claws found inside mouth. Burial lies on top of a bird shaped out of thousands of small marine shells.
Biological Sex: Unknown. Age 4-5. Heading facing North. Eight carved antler statues placed on chest. Helmet made of copper plates, decorated with exotic stones and bronze. Rare stones and bronze also placed on waist. Large, very finely made pot and bronze sword next to child. The child’s bones are very porous and x-rays showed Harris lines.
Biological Sex: Female. Age 30-40. Head facing South. Bronze plate placed on chest. Wooden comb placed near hand. Very crude, simple drinking vessel next to skull. Wrists and knees show signs of severe arthritis.
Biological Sex: Male. Age 30-40. Head facing South. Bronze plate placed on chest. Wooden comb placed near hand. Very crude, simple drinking vessel next to skull.