ANTHROPOLOGIE
International Journal of Human Diversity and Evolution
 
Coverage: 1923-1941 (Vols. I-XIX) & 1962-2019 (Vols. 1-57)
ISSN 0323-1119 (Print)
ISSN 2570-9127 (Online)
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Vol. 57, issue 3/2019 is in press.

World Archaeological Congres 9
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Full text of article
'Smrčka V, Berkovec T, Erban V,, 2019: "CHILDREN AS PLANTS." ANALYSES OF SKELETAL REMAINS OF SUSPECTED CHILDREN SACRIFICES ON A NEOLITHIC SETTLEMENT IN VEDROVICE, CZECH REPUBLIC. Anthropologie (Brno) 57, 1: 79-86'.
 
Abstract
Vladimír Ondruš (1972) referred to numerous instances of children's burials at the Neolithic settlement in Vedrovice in South Moravia, Czech Republic. He based his explanation of these occurrences on the theory that children had been subjected to ritual sacrifice during the process of laying the foundation or completion of a house. Elevated values of strontium isotopes (87Sr/86Sr > 0.7115) in M1 tooth enamel and a compact bone segment of the central femur of the three juvenile individuals suggest that these children (grave H3/66, 6–7 years; grave H4/69, 7–8 years; grave H5/71, 5–6 years) were migrants. The Vedrovice area is located close to the NE-SW trending boundary between the Bohemian Massif crystalline region, dominated by Palaeozoic or older granitoids and metamorphic rocks with generally high 87Sr/86Sr to the NW, and lowland areas to the SE, dominated by Cenozoic marine sediments with low 87Sr/86Sr ratio. It is thus more probable that the 3 children in question originated from the NW region. Children in graves H3/66, H4/69, and H5/71 from the Neolithic site in Vedrovice were placed behind posthole huts, on their western side. The graves of H3/66 and H4/69 contained no gifts, and all were non-locals, likely born northwest of Vedrovice. One of them had the arms in front of the face as if in fear. Hence it may be concluded and to speculate that these children were migrants, and were killed (or buried alive) during the founding of a field in a religious ceremony to support the growth of crops. Analyses of migration on the site as well as ethnographical comparisons with other primitive agricultural societies from the Amazon, New Guinea and India which have traditions of comparing children to plant growth, suggest that the children were most likely sacrificed during the process of founding a field as part of a ritual ceremony to support the growth of crops. Perimortem traumas on the skulls of two children from the triple burial 48-49-50/65 Nitra-Horné Krškany (Slovakia) are evidence of potential violence. We can only speculate whether the children in both sites, Vedrovice and Nitra, were victims of ritualistic behaviour among the Neolithic farmers.
 
Keywords
Neolithic farmers – Potentional violence – Children victims
 
DOI
https://doi.org/10.26720/anthro.19.02.13.1
 
 
 
 

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