INTRODUCTION

This is the 15th International Colloquium of Funerary Archaeology organized in the past 23 years, one of them was in Bulgaria (Kazanluk, 1993) another in Serbia (Čačak, 2015), and the rest, in Romania: Tulcea-Brăila-Slobozia-Călărași (1995), Tulcea (1997, 2000 and 2008), Brăila and Tulcea (2003), Brăila (2010), Buzău (2004, 2009 and 2012), Sibiu (2005 and 2007) and Bistrița (2008). These scientific events had had participants from many parts of Europe and, sometimes, even from other continents.
So far, we have published 14 volumes of the funerary colloquia proceedings, all of them with excellent graphics and in languages used internationally, which had conferred a particular prestige to our scientific event; the volume from the last colloquium in Čačak is in print.
We have organised, under the aegis of the Commission 30 of UISPP, other international colloquia, in connexion with the funerary customs, such as those from Bistriţa (2006), Braşov (2006), Galaţi (2007), Drobeta Turnu Severin (2007) and Buzău (2014), all of them followed by the publication of the proceedings.
To these we can add the two sessions organized on the Congresses of the International Union of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences (UISPP). Namely, the session named ”Tumuli Graves – Status Symbol of the Dead in Bronze and Iron Ages in Europe”, organized in Florianopolis (Brazil), is already published in Actes du XVIe Congrès Mondial UISPP (Florianopolis, 4-10 Septembre 2011), Volume 2. ISBN 9781407309897, 2012, by the British Archaeological Reports (BAR), while the presentations of the Session A16a - “Aegean-Mediterranean Imports and Influences in the Graves from Continental Europe – Bronze & Iron Ages”, organised on the occasion of the XVII UISPP Congress, Burgos (Spain), August 31st - September 7th 2014, have recently been published, together with the proceedings of Session A3c, by Archaeopress Archaeology, volume 9 (2016).
Thus, we organised, under the aegis of the Commission 30 of UISPP, 18 international colloquia and 2 sessions at the UISPP congresses, and published 18 volumes.

These colloquia took place under the aegis of the 30th Commission of the UISPP and of the Association for Studies in Funerary Archaeology – Romania (ASAF).
Between 1996 and 2000, the 30th Commission of the UISPP was named Funerary Practices in the Protohistoric Cultures of South-Eastern Europe, but in 2006, on the occasion of the 15th Congress of the UISPP, in Lisbon, the Permanent Committee accepted the new name – Mortuary Practices in Prehistory and Protohistory, which indicates an expansion of its purpose in terms of geography and of chronology as well.
The activities of the 30th Commission can be found on the website: http://uispp30commission.net4u.ro/index.php
The participants at this colloquium are well-known professors and researchers from prestigious European universities and institutes, which will provide a high level of analyses and debates, as well as good international visibility.
The programme of the colloquium includes 18 presentations, with 25 authors, from seven countries: Romania, Rep. of Moldova, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Poland, and France.
Undoubtedly, the presentations and the debates on the topics in question will generate new data and interesting interpretations on these phenomena, given the extremely intriguing topic of the event: «Interdisciplinary Methods of Research for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Funerary Monuments”.
We have chosen this specific topic as the colloquium was first planned in a collaboration with the Commission 4 of UISPP - Archaeological Methods and Theory: Formalization, quantification, mathematics and computerization-, but, for objective reasons, we could not finalize this collaboration.
I would like to thank prof. dr. Ionel Cândea, manager of Museum of Brăila ”Carol I”, and some of my colleagues for their financial and logistic efforts and for the good work necessary to organize this colloquium
The volume of the colloquium is scheduled to be published by the end of 2016.

Prof. dr. Valeriu Sîrbu
President
- 30th Commission: Mortuary Practices in Prehistory and Protohistory of UISPP
- Association for Studies of Funerary Archaeology - Romania

ABSTRACTS

 

NEW DATA ON TUMULUS 5 AT MEDGIDIA

Radu BĂJENARU (Romania)

The author presents the results of the 2010 rescue excavations in Tumulus 5, located on the A2 motorway, in the Cernavoda-Medgidia sector. Tumulus 5 was part of a group of four mounds, of which only three were excavated. It was almost circular in shape, with an east-west length of ca. 60 m, and a north-south extent of ca. 52 m. The preserved height was of 2.80 m.
The excavations exposed eleven archaeological features, among which eight burials. The stratigraphy of the tumulus was also observed, with its three successive cover layers. The first cover was created for burial M.7, and later became part of the cover built for M.8. The third one, noticeable mainly in the peripheral area of the tumulus, covered the other burials, these being evidently later than the first two.
Special attention was given to M.7. The grave was first covered with timber wood, then with large rock boulders forming a mound, and finally soil was topped, also in a mound shape. With the help of dendrochronology, the burial was dated to ca. 3100-3000 BC.

CHILDREN IN THE MONTEORU CULTURE. AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL OVERVIEW

Alexandra COMȘA (Romania)

Children were always perceived as important for the past societies, as they assured the future of their communities. They were taken care of, being raised in the specific norms of their groups.
In this paper we will refer to the Monteoru culture, in which, as we will see, the children were perceived with various degrees of attention. We will notice differences in their funerary treatment among cemeteries, even if all these sites belonged to the same Monteoru culture.

« LES SEPULTURES INVISIBLES » DANS LA CULTURE DE PRZEWORSK – DEUX PISTES D’INTERPRETATION A PARTIR DES DONNEES DE SCIENCES NATURELLES »

Tomasz BOCHNAK, Katarzyna SKOWRON (Pologne)

Les rites funéraires qui ne se laissent pas apercevoir avec les méthodes archéologiques contemporaines étaient pratiqués par les sociétés de plusieurs cultures archéologiques. Il y a des périodes et des territoires où on note la présence des établissements de la culture dace ou celtique, mais es nécropoles où les tombes sont peu nombreuses par rapport à la densité de la colonisation. Ce phénomène est aussi observé dans la culture de Przeworsk – premièrement dans la Petite Pologne à partir du changement des ères, ce qui est considéré comme un héritage celtique. Ensuite, on observe la réduction du la nombre des tombes (et du poids moyen dégressif) sur la plupart du la territoire occupé par la culture de Przeworsk au IVème et au début du Vème siècle après J. C., c’est-à-dire dans sa phase finale. Les dernières années, on a mis au jour les structures en forme de puits ou de larges dépressions humides, remplies par d’ossements humains. Leur datation correspond aux périodes, où il y a très peu de nécropoles.
Ces découvertes étaient soigneusement étudiées, alors nous disposons des analyses anthropologiques et dendrochronologiques qui pourraient jeter la lumière sur le phénomène des « sépultures invisibles ». Cependant, leur interprétation archéologique peut aboutir aux résultats variés suivant les paradigmes présupposés.
Notre communication montre comment à partir des données objectives établies par les sciences naturelles on formule des hypothèses différentes.

BURIED IN THE SETTLEMENT. CASE STUDY: THE BRONZE AGE GRAVES IN THE PĂULENI SITE

Valeriu CAVRUC (Romania)

Păuleni site is located in a key position on one of the most important routes that connect the Ciuc Depression, in eastern Transylvania, with Ghimeș, Tazlău-Cașin and Comănești Depressions in western Moldavia. Five major occupation periods within the site were identified during its research:
- EE - Early Eneolithic (Cucuteni A - Ariușd), 5th Millennium BC;
- LE - Later Eneolithic (Coțofeni II), end of 4th – beginning of 3rd Millennium BC;
- EBA - Early Bronze Age (Jigodin?), second half of 3rd Millennium BC;
- MBA 1 - The Middle Bronze Age debut (Costișa-Ciomortan), ca. 2000 – 1900 BC;
- MBA - The Middle Bronze Age (Wietenberg II Chidioșan / B Boroffka), ca. 1800 – 1700 BC.
The character of human occupation of the site varied throughout the times. Thus, the Cucuteni-Ariușd, Coțofeni and Wietenberg vestiges mostly represent the traces of settlements, the Early Bronze Age finds seem to refer just to the funeral practices, while the the Costișa-Ciomortan finds were associated with a fortification and funeral activities, without clear traces of habitation.
This paper attempts to interpret several graves and isolated human bones were found within the site. They belong to EBA, MBA 1 and MBA.
- EBA: the collective grave and some isolated human bones together with animal ones.
- MBA 1: the collective grave in the fortification rampart.
- MBA: child graves close to the houses.
The general conclusion is that in every period of occupation, the Păuleni site was considered as being of a special importance. Perhaps the importance of the site was given by its very specific geographical position (its location at the periphery of the cultural groups, its key position on the connection routes, its hidden location, the well naturally defended place etc.). This importance seems to have been marked, inter alia, by funeral practices which were significantly different from the Bronze Age standard funerary practices in Transylvania and Moldavia.

TOWARDS RECONSTRUCTION OF THE BRONZE AGE FUNERARY RITUAL IN WESTERN SERBIA

Katarina DMITROVIĆ, Marija LJUŠTINA (Serbia)

Funerary finds represent dominant archaeological testimony to the long-lasting Bronze Age in the territory of Western Serbia. The solid number of recognized and excavated graves is in sharp contrast with the few poorly investigated settlements. Thus, different aspects of human existence are quite unequally represented in archaeological record. Consequently, our researches are mostly based on the information provided by the archaeological remains from the necropolises and single graves. In respect of the previously stated, we are oriented towards, but also limited by the material remains of the rituals performed, while ideas for reconstruction of other practices that were following the funeral can be derived from the antique sources echoing from the Iron Age, and the regional ethnographic records.
On this methodological trace, a certain sequence of obligatory actions that were practiced both before and after inhumation of the deceased can be presumed. The material remains of stone, wood, fire, gifts and offerings, as well as a range of organic leftovers detected in the Bronze Age grave unit in Western Serbia point to the sepulchral meaning of these basic elements. They are also indicative of a specific relation the ancient communities had with their religious concepts. The presence of the Bronze Age graves the inventory of which comprises vessels (supposed to have been filled with food and drink) and other equipment attests the belief that the deceased would have required certain possessions in the world after death.
Comparative analysis involving ethnographic record can partly explain the role of the material testimonies in the cult of maintenance of the dead. Despite it, some of them keep attracting our special attention, but their function and multi-layered symbolism remains too difficult to decipher.


THE CÂMPINA CEMETERY (PRAHOVA COUNTY) AND THE LATE BRONZE AGE IN NORTHERN MUNTENIA

Alin FRÎNCULEASA (Romania)

At the middle of the 2nd millennium BC a series of transformations and developments with a regional or local impact occurred north of the Lower Danube. In this area the above-mentioned time frame can be addressed as the final stage of the Bronze Age. The classical Bronze Age cultures such as Monteoru and Tei were at the end of their evolution, some of their traditions being recognizable in the Noua culture. Some recent discoveries, resulted out of both systematic and preventive research, highlighted several aspects which can be further elaborated. Thus, the approached region has a higher relevance to the understanding of phenomena dating from the end of the Middle and the beginning of the Late Bronze Age.
The most important archaeological site researched during the past years in this region was the biritual cemetery from Câmpina - exhaustively excavated between 2008 and 2013. The total number of burials reached 60, out of which 47 were inhumations and 13 cremations. The grave goods found in Câmpina were comprised of pottery or other items typical of the Noua and Monteoru cultures, as well as pots decorated in a technique specific to the Tei culture.
The burials were not spectacularly furnished; a higher frequency was noticed among the clay pots, followed by ornaments. A further distinction can be made between inhumations, usually accompanied by maximum 2 pots, and cremations, in which richer funerary inventories comprised of 3-4 clay pots dominated. Ornaments were found in a low number of graves, being made of bone, amber, glass, bronze, clay, silver. Several burials contained mammal bones, probably representing the remains of food offerings.
The funerary complex from Câmpina is an important marker to the understanding of phenomena that occurred at the Lower Danube during the end of the Middle and the beginning of the Late Bronze Age. The cemetery seems to have been used during most of this time frame which is still unclear from the archaeological standpoint, characterised by transformations. It is showing certain elements of the Monteoru IIb phase, as well as some of the Balintești/post Monteoru IIb or Petrișoru-Racovițeni type, being also contemporary with the Noua culture. Initially, this cemetery was specific to a late Monteoru community, defining a human group already receiving some impulses from the Noua area, while the end of the funerary complex was placed under the influence of the Noua culture.

WARRIOR’S GRAVE FROM NOVO SELO, REGION OF STAMBOLIYSKI. SOME NEW ASPECTS OF THE FUNERARY RITUALS AND INVENTORY OF THE EARLY IRON AGE “CHIEFTAIN” GRAVES IN THRACIA

Lyubava KONOVA (Bulgaria)

This communication presents a case study of the Early Iron Age tumular grave in Tekirski bair locality, near the village of Novo selo, Stamboliyski Region. During rescue excavations in the area, carried out by Dr. Kostadin Kissyov, a tumulus destroyed by treasure hunters, located about 200 m from an Early Iron Age settlement has been explored. The funeral rite is inhumation in supine position; the body was placed on a stone platform and covered by stone heap. The funeral offerings, situated around it - gold appliqués and parts of plating, an iron sword and spearheads with bronze plating, a plastically decorated bronze umbo - demonstrate clearly the high social status of the deceased.
Despite the extremely fragmentary nature of our knowledge of the so called “burials of aristocrats” in EIA Thrace, based on rather isolated examples of excavated “rich” graves (like the one from Belogradets) and predominantly on preliminary and fragmentary reports, the aim of the study is to: a. summarize the until now known data on the funeral rites and offerings of the EIA “chieftain” graves in the area, their common features or variations; b. trace their relation with those of the neighbouring regions; c. outline the “blank fields” and add some new aspects and perspectives in the future study of these segment of the funerary archaeology.

REINHUMATION IN THE GETIC WORLD, “WORSHIPING ANCESTORS” OR A SPECIAL FUNERAL RITUAL

Anca GANCIU (Romania), Philippe CHARLIER (France)

The Getic cemetery from Stelnica is a biritual one. Until now, in almost 30 years of systematic researches, 434 graves were investigated. 430 graves were dated mostly in the 4th-3rd c. BC, while only a few tombs, could be dated in the second half of the 5th c. BC. Regarding the funeral rite inhumation represents 47% (202 graves) and cremation 53% (232 graves). In the case of cremation graves, the funeral ritual consisted in: cremation with the bones deposed in urns, with or without lids, or offering vessels (144) and cremation with the bones deposed in large-oval pits, with or without offering vessels (88).
Of all the inhumation tombs, six graves have drawn the attention due to the manner in which the bones were deposited. The bones were arranged in a “package”, without anatomical connection. Some patterns of bone deposition may be identified. First, the lower limb bones were placed at the bottom, followed by superior limb bones; after that, some of vertebrae and ribs, and at last, the skull. The second feature of these tombs is that part of the bones is missing, vertebrae and ribs especially. Five individuals were anthropologically analysed, resulting the subsequently situation: one immature individual, three young female adult individuals, and one mature male adult.
Such anatomical and archaeological presentation could be explained by the deposition of bones coming from another place (reinhumation, i.e. transfer from one another initial localization, for various purposes) or post-mortem modification of the grave. In the last case, it could be related to a practice of necrophobia, i.e. fear of the return of the dead, with a mobilization of the skeletonized or partly skeletonized cadaver in order to prevent its "mobility" and the happening of negative actions within the community of the living individuals. Comparison with previous cases from other chrono-cultural context than the Getic ones will be given.

EXCAVATIONS ON THE ACROPOLIS OF PALIOCASTRO ON THE ISLAND OF KYTHERA, GREECE: INVESTIGATING THE RELATION BETWEEN THE SETTLEMENT AND THE CEMETERY

Evangelos KROUSTALIS, Gely FRAGOU (Greece)

The island of Kythera occupies an important geographical position in the middle of the Aegean and the Mediterranean crossroads in the axis north – south and east – west. The great importance of the island is also underlined by the fact that throughout history, major powers tried to conquest and control it. The remains of the ancient capital lie on the south slope of the Paliocastro hill, at the eastern side of the island. The city was surrounded by fortification walls and towers dating from the Archaic period onwards. Excavations conducted at the site in 2010 and 2011 brought to light structural remains of private and public character as well as burials. A large number of moveable finds indicates that the island was linked to several parts of the Greek mainland, primarily, Laconia.
In our presentation we will discuss how life and death interrelate on the island of Kythera. Although ancient Greeks had certain ideas about death and, for practical and ideological reasons, buried their dead beyond the limits of their citadels, the recent investigations on Kythera brought death closer to life. We will argue, too, that the discovery of the 7th century BC burials in an area that was later enclosed in the fortification walls has significant implications for the topographical evolution of the city.

THE RIGHT OR MERIT TO BE BURIED? A CONTRIBUTION TO SOCIAL ASPECTS OF THE BRONZE AGE FUNERARY PRACTICE IN WESTERN SERBIA

Marija LJUŠTINA, Katarina DMITROVIĆ (Serbia)

Prehistoric graves can be approached as a direct evidence of social structure and social complexity. In traditional societies and in many modern societies there is no spiritual split between the world of living and the otherworld. Funerary archaeology has its base in archaeological evidence – funerary architecture, grave inventory, bodily remains and traces of their previous treatment. Archaeological evidence particularly sheds light on the final stages of the funerary sequence: the disposal of the bodily remains of the deceased deposited in the place of eternal rest.
There are clear patterns to be observed in the way in which this was done, showing that there were culturally-specific ideas on the right way to treat and represent the remains at this stage of the burial. Among them there may be ideas on the proper way of representing the deceased as a particular kind of a person, and on the values important for the person’s identity. Western Serbia during the Bronze Age has proven to be a good terrain to explore specific phenomena in funerary practice, indicative of a certain social agenda.
In spite of the fact that excavations and increased interest of researchers for burials under mounds, typical for the Bronze and the Iron Ages in the Western Serbia, have long tradition, the total number of graves in the region is not impressive. It was a common practice, especially in the Early Bronze Age tumuli, to bury a single person in a central grave, without any additional inhumation. During the Middle Bronze Age an increase in total number of the deceased can be noticed, but the present state of research does not unreservedly reveal complete demographic picture of the Bronze Age population in the area. In accordance with it, a hypothesis arose that there was a socially imposed restriction related to the right to be buried under the mounds.
Consequently, tumular burials should be treated as a privilege and the members of the society who had a merit to be treated that way as possessing values of special importance for the society. At the same time, the „others“deserved some other treatment, apparently not easily recognizable in archaeological record.

THE NECROPOLIS FROM VALEA STÂNII (ARGEȘ COUNTY) AND A COMPARATIVE APPROACH TO THE LATE HALLSTATT FERIGILE GROUP FEATURES

Dragoș MĂNDESCU (Romania)

The necropolis from Valea Stânii village, Țițesti commune, nearby the city of Mioveni (Argeș County), is the most recently researched cemetery of Ferigile type in the northern sub-mountainous Muntenia. It is composed by about 35 flattened (and partly destroyed by the agricultural works) barrows with river stone embankments. In the recent years (during 2014 and 2015 seasons) five barrows containing cremation graves were archaeologically investigated by the Argeș County Museum. The diameter of the stone sheets was between 6 and 10 m.
The archaeological inventory consists of handmade pottery, adornments (clay and glass beads, fragmentary bronze bracelet, bone pendant), fragments of weapons (sword, spearhead, axe, knife, arrows), household utensils (spindle-whorl, little knives), etc.
The paper will draw a parallel between the features displayed by the necropolis from Valea Stânii and the other archaeologically investigated necropolises belonging to the Ferigile group from northern Munenia and Oltenia, like Ferigile (the eponymous site), Cepari, Tigveni, Curtea de Argeș, Țițești, etc.

FUNERAL CONSTRUCTIONS AND RITUALS - INDICATORS OF SOCIAL DIFFERENTIATION IN THE AREA EAST OF THE PRUT IN THE 6TH-3RD CENTURIES BC

Ion NICULIŢĂ, Aurel ZANOCI, Mihail BĂŢ (Rep. of Moldova)

Archaeological investigations undertaken at several cemeteries of the 6th-3rd centuries BC in the area east of the Prut river have revealed funerary constructions, the hallmark of which is their complexity.
Thus, by the 6th century BC, burials with quite impressive sepulchral pits appeared. The first burials in complicated funeral constructions, which were found in the necropolis of Selişte-Orhei, represent burial chambers deepened in the ground up to 60-120 cm from the current ground surface. The surface of such the chambers varies between 170×170 cm and 320×200 cm. The vertical walls of the sepulchral pits were lined with wood and anointed with clay. In most cases, at the bottom of these burial chambers there were dug cylindrical pits, where the calcined bones of the deceased were put (in an urn or directly into the pit). The sepulchral pits, in turn, passed the rite of purification by fire, as evidenced by the layers of coals, ash and numerous pieces of fired clay with impresses of branches or reeds. The thickness of these pieces of clay reaches up to 20-30 cm. This type of sepulchral pits was also used in the 5th-4th centuries BC in the burial of Pârjolteni-Călăraşi, where reeds served as the main building material. Cremations in/or without urns prevail in such the burials.
Funerals in complicated sepulchral constructions are also known in the 4th-3rd centuries BC, as attested at the cemeteries in Dubăsari and Lărguţa, where were found traces of a rich burial, which had been devastated.
At the same time, most burials in the investigated cemeteries represent simple pits of cylindrical shape, into which the bones of the deceased were put in urns or directly on the bottom of the pit.
On the basis of the studies we can conclude that cremation prevailed during this period, but this does not mean that the inhumation was completely neglected. In this context it should be mentioned that in many necropolises there are rectangular sepulchral pits, with the dimensions of 190×90 cm, characteristic of inhumation burials, but which contain a single urn with calcined bones. In most necropolises, where cremation is predominant, usually there are inhumation burials as well. Currently it is too early to state whether this situation reflects the social or ritual differentiation. However, the presence of inhumation in the cemeteries with cremation predominance leads us to the idea that they actually indicate different social conditions in the communities in the area east of the Prut. This is also evidenced by the burials containing up to 8-9 offering vessels, silver bracelets or fibulae, golden earrings, bone pendants, etc.
The burials in complicated funeral constructions, which contain rich findings: golden torques, like those from Lărguţa and Dubăsari; iron weapons and bronze and bone pieces of harness, known in the burials of Selişte and Pârjolteni, probably belonged to leaders who could also act as supreme priests.
Thus, thanks to archaeological research it can be stated that by the 6th-3rd centuries BC in the sedentary communities east of the Prut there is certain social differentiation, which importance is still difficult to determine.

CLOSE TO THE LIMES – SARMATIANS FROM WALLACHIA, MOLDAVIA AND BANAT

Liana OȚA, Valeriu SÎRBU (Romania)

Even today, after more than 40 years since their publication, the syntheses written by Gh. Bichir are used as one of the main sources of information about the Sarmatians settled in Wallachia, Moldavia or Banat. The previously mentioned papers had a huge influence on the approaches of this matter, up until today, Sarmatians being regarded as an entity whose archaeological testimonies are only the graves with similar features of the funerary rite and ritual.
This image could be radically changed as result of general analysis of Sarmatian discoveries in Wallachia, Moldavia and Banat. Significant differences could be registered on the background of similar features (concentration of the discoveries in the plains, the practice of inhumation, vessels of a certain type deposited as grave-goods, beads used both as adornments and ornaments for the clothes, the deposition of weapons or mirrors in female elite burials).
The arrival of Sarmatians in the three previously mentioned areas occurs at different times and with different intensities of the phenomenon. The main archaeological testimonies of Sarmatian presence are the inhumation graves. Settlements (found especially in the Banat and dated later, especially starting with the 3rd century AD) or tamga-signs on pottery (found especially in Moldavia and dated earlier, during the 1st century BC – 1st century AD) should be analysed, too. If the attention focuses on the evolution in time of the discoveries, particular features could be observed within the discoveries of the same area: territorial distribution with different concentration of discoveries in different times, grave-goods almost absent in certain restricted areas and widespread in other regions, different types of Roman imports.

DISCUSSION ON BURIAL CUSTOMS IN A “CEMETERY” OF SOUTH-EASTERN ATTICA, GREECE

Dina PAPATHANASIOU, Aris TSARAVOPOULOS (Greece)

The continuation of the research in the cemetery at the site called “Phinikia” that was described in the 4th International Colloquium of funerary Archaeology brought to light new data concerning the burial customs and more especially the burial of the burnt remains of the dead as well as the ways of marking tombs.
The option of cremation is discussed as a way of “transition” and the material evidence with which the attempt to facilitate this “transition” is presented. In addition, the phenomenon observed in this cemetery, is discussed, that is linked with burials (not cremations) that the legs of the deceased have been cut and the bodies covered with heavy stones so as to obstruct the “transition”, but also the phenomenon of “returning” among the living.

FROM THIS WORLD TO THE AFTER WORLD: CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING THE FUNERARY INVENTORY OF THE BRONZE AGE BURIALS FROM SOUTHERN ROMANIA

Cristian SCHUSTER (Romania)

Some considerations regarding the „transfer” of the deceased and goods from the world of the living to the one of the dead are to be expressed. It is about how the body of the deceased makes this transition (its preparation on this realm), the way used for the passing of the corpse from one world to the other (earth, water, fire, air/wind) and the categories of goods that are destined to accompany the dead (funerary inventory).
It will be insisted upon the interdisciplinary research, upon its role in contributing to the understanding of this threshold in the life of the people, of leaving a well know world and accessing another less known one.

CHILDREN BURIALS IN NORTHERN THRACIAN SETTLEMENTS DURING THE IRON AGE

Valeriu SÎRBU, Diana DĂVÎNCĂ (Romania)

The deposition of human bones inside settlement areas is a behaviour encountered in many cultural groups and along different epochs, with reasons for this cohabitation between the living and the dead varying from case to case. The burial of children in settlements happened concurrently with their deposition in regular cemeteries, surprising remaining for some periods only the larger number of children found in non-funerary contexts and, in cases, some differences in rituals and funerary inventory between the two categories of sites.
In the case of the northern Thracians we will consider the area comprised between Balkans, Tisza and Dniestr and the chronological framework of the 12th c. BC till the 1st c. AD. We will include all the discoveries of Infans (0-7 years), Infans II (7-14 years) and the general archaeological reference to ‘child’. Of course, without any written sources we cannot know how the modern concept of child was perceived by the ancient Thracians.
Even if children bones were discovered for this entire time interval, significant differences (chronological, geographic and cultural) between their treatments can be observed. The most numerous discoveries belong to the 9th – 8th centuries BC (cultural groups Gava, Babadag and Saharna), while during the period of the 6th – 5th centuries BC the number of found children inside settlements is very low. It remains to be seen if this discrepancy reflects a historical reality or merely a research stage.
In total, in 46 sites human bones were found, coming from approximately 214 individuals: 55 Infans I, 6 infans I-II, 46 infans II and 107 ‘children’. In all the certain discoveries the children were inhumed. Unfortunately, only too few anthropological analyses are available, while no written source makes any mention regarding the manner in which the northern Thracians treated their deceased children, the diseases they suffered from, the criteria that mattered when deciding that some children were buried in the settlements and others in the cemeteries, the rituals practiced at their burials. Only in few cases there were noticed traces of violence on the children bones, and even then it was not clear if they could be considered cause of death or were subsequently applied. In the same time, it is known that there are killing methods that do not leave marks visible on the bones (suffocation, poisoning, drowning).
The large number of children deposited inside settlements can be explained, first of all, by the increased child mortality rate of the past and by the mentality of many archaic populations to bury their children close to the house. In many situations the lack of skeletons parts ca be explained by the post-mortem manipulation of the deceased, on the basis of specific beliefs, now difficult to define.

DECODING THE MONUMENTAL FUNERARY SPACE OF HELLENISTIC KALLATIS. TUMULI, ROADS AND PLOTS

Maria-Magdalena ȘTEFAN, Valeriu SÎRBU, Dan ȘTEFAN (Romania)

Similar to its more famous northern neighbouring Greek cities funded on the Western shores of the Black Sea, Orgame and Histria, Kallatis, too, had an impressive tumular necropolis. Its oldest funerary discoveries cannot be dated, though, earlier than the middle 4th c. BC. Unfortunately, still little is known about the city cemeteries, as the ancient town has been continuously occupied till present. It suffered extensively, especially during the last century urbanisation process of transforming Mangalia into a seaside resort and industrial port. Landscape transformations were done not always with support of archaeological excavations and, thus, the disparate information regarding territory dynamics and necropolis need to be assembled like a puzzle. It is the domain of landscape archaeology, historical mapping, remote sensing and geophysics to help decoding the archaeological landscape.
The presentation will focus on exploring the organisation of the funerary space surrounding Kallatis, at various distances around the city, attempting to extract from the spatial layout of tumuli, funerary plots and network of roads the social strategies embedded in the funerary discourse. A greater emphasis will be placed on the early Hellenistic finds, a particular moment for building monumental funerary architecture either in earth or stone in Kallatis and elsewhere in Greece and Asia Minor, like the subterraneous tombs with semi-cylindrical vaults and painted interiors. The organisation of funerary space and the monumental approach of it are seen as a reflection of ancient representations about group identity and political conflict.