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)
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'Šefčáková A, Bodoriková S, Panenková P, Thurzo M, Takács M, Urminský J, 2010: Decorated femoral head from the Early Bronze Age cemetery at Gáň (Galanta district, Slovakia). Anthropologie (Brno) 48, 2: 199-207'.
An incomplete, probably femoral head (caput femoris) with the appearance of a decorated bone artefact was found in grave AH 168 at the Gáň cemetery (Galanta district, Slovakia). The cemetery was dated to the Early Bronze Age (1900 BC) and belonged to the so-called Nitra culture. The grave proved to be highly disturbed secondarily; it contained much-damaged skeletal remains. It was set in southwest-northeast orientation and had the shape of a slightly irregular rectangle. Approximately in the centre of the grave pit, there were the inhumated human remains of a young adult person. They consisted of broken long bones of the upper extremities, of both the shoulder bones and a right ulna proximal fragment. A copper dagger was lying in between them. In the northeast part of the grave, the incomplete femora, a part of the fibula and a pelvis fragment were found. Near the femoral distal epiphysis, a decorated femoral head was situated. Furthermore, fragments of a temporal bone and six teeth were found. The femoral head was decorated with an abstract image consisting of parallel lines and squares; its body was perforated by five holes. Using the CT scan, we tried to determine if the artefact was made of human or bear (Ursus) femur. However, the analysis revealed that it is not possible to precisely differentiate a human bone sample from that of a bear. Moreover, the possibility that the artefact was made of the femoral head of another animal (bigger mammal) could not be excluded. The function of the artefact is not clear; we suppose it could have been either an amulet, or a big button for fastening clothing.
Bone artefact - Grave goods - Abstract decoration - Engraving - Symbolism - Button - Central Europe - Early Bronze Age

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