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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'Oliva M, 2021: MAMMOTH REMAINS, BURIALS, AND ART (30-15 KY AGO): ANTHROPOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE . Anthropologie (Brno) 59, 3: 225-249'.
The aim of the paper is to widen the spectrum of sources leading to the knowledge of social aspects and symbolic dimensions of the life of mid-Upper Palaeolithic hunters. The contemporary discussion leaves everything that relates to faunal remains (including their special composition and striking depositions) entirely within the competence of natural sciences, as though the human intervention had ceased with killing and practical usage of the animal. As it is known from ethnohistorical sources, this has not been the case in any society. At the same time, in foraging societies funeral customs are never limited to primary inhumations of complete human bodies, although the contemporary archaeology considers such form as a standard funeral rite of the Upper Palaeolithic. Anything else is viewed as an anomaly requiring a special substantiation. Ethnologically speaking, exactly primary inhumations are exceptional, while both human and animal remains receive a ritualized treatment. A mass deposition from Předmostí (Př. 1-18) is deemed a tomb with complete bodies disturbed by animals; this interpretation still prevails despite its originating from a Christian view of the world in the 19th century. Some of the so-called tombs may not even be secondary inhumations of a body with grave goods, but a hoard of symbolic items with representative animal and human bones and “liturgic” artefacts (Brno 2). Many of the so-called works of art bear witness of an altered state of consciousness, characteristic for individuals aiming to communicate with the “other world”, analogically to the later shamans. The crisis of the contemporary Palaeolithic archaeology is found in creating of an entirely artificial picture of people with purely technical motivation and determined by the surrounding nature. It is necessary to restore the discussion into the realm of cultural anthropology.

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