International Journal of Human Diversity and Evolution
Coverage: 1923-1941 (Vols. I-XIX) & 1962-2023 (Vols. 1-61)
ISSN 0323-1119 (Print)
ISSN 2570-9127 (Online)
Journal Impact Factor 0.2
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'Boaventura R, Ferreira MT, Neves MJ, Silva AM, 2014: Funerary practices and anthropology during Middle-Late Neolithic (4th and 3rd millennia BCE) in Portugal: old bones, new insights. Anthropologie (Brno) 52, 2: 183-205'.
This paper reviews and updates the anthropological knowledge about Middle-Late Neolithic populations in Portugal. This territory is rich in prehistoric burial sites, particularly those of the designated Middle and Late Neolithic/Chalcolithic periods (4th-3rd millennia BCE). In the past 150 years, more than 3000 tombs, namely natural caves used as tombs, dolmens, rock cut tombs and tholoi (vaulted chamber tombs) were identified and hundreds of them explored. Within these funerary structures, generally used as collective burials, the bones were frequently found and registered as disturbed and in a very fragmentary condition with total or almost total absence of anatomic connections. The systematic study of these human remains started in the 1990's and are mainly based on data obtained from tombs located in Estremadura and Algarve, two regions with limestone bedrocks that contributed to a better bone preservation. Those studies led to the assessment of anthropological profiles of several tombs. Among the more relevant data is the frequent sex ratio in favor of females, a greater mobility than that expected for agricultural communities and a low rate of main types of pathologies. Meanwhile, mainly due to an increase of Management Archaeology in South Portugal hinterland (Alentejo) new sites and types of tombs were located in the last 15 years: rock cut tombs were unknown in Alentejo, as well as pit graves; also pockets of cremated human bones have been found, as well as human bones lying inside ditches. Besides suggesting a more diversified funerary practice by those prehistoric populations, this new data raises many more questions: Were all contemporaneous? Was there different treatment according to belonging within the groups? Are there regional patterning for those differences?
Mortuary practices - Middle Neolithic - Late Neolithic/Chalcolithic - Collective burials - Inhumations - Cremations - Portugal

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