At the 2013 ASOR Annual Meeting Anna Osterholtz presented the paper “Mortuary Patterns in the Tell Abraq Tomb Assemblage, UAE (2200– 2000 B.C.E.).” She agreed to come in and record the presentation for the ASOR YouTube channel ASORtv. Below is an abstract of the presentation and the embedded video of the paper. Enjoy!
This presentation explores the mortuary patterns in the Bronze Age UAE tomb assemblage from Tell Abraq (2200–2000 B.C.E.).
Through a feature-based approach to the determination of the minimum number of individuals (MNI), underlying mortuary patterns were clarified. An examination of the MNIs on different elements may indicate removal of elements as part of the mortuary program. For example, the MNI based on the right talus is 278, but the distal humerus is 131.This suggests differential disposal or increased fragmentation of the forearm. Examination of sex ratios for different elements can also illuminate mortuary patterns. The sex ratios for the postcranial elements, as estimated by metric and nonmetric analyses, indicate approximately 65% male and 35% female. The cranial sex distribution is approximately even, though, indicating that some of the male crania were removed as part of the mortuary program. Age distributions are somewhat skewed towards males dying at slightly older ages, though only two individuals reached an age of 50+ years. The juvenile representation indicates a significant number of preterm and infant were interred in the tomb. Taken together, the tomb represents a community cemetery where all members of society are interred. Bioarchaeological analyses such as this one allow for the illumination of underlying patterns and significant relationships within society.
By Anna Osterholtz (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), Kathryn Baustian (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), Debra Martin (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), and Daniel Potts (New York University).
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