“A milestone in the study of mortuary practices in Arabia over several millennia of late prehistoric developments. It combines detailed archaeological insights of unique burial practices with a wealth of bioarchaeological data.”—Dušan Boric, author of Deathways at Lepenski Vir: Patterns in Mortuary Practice
Mortuary and Bioarchaeological Perspectives on Bronze Age Arabia brings together experts in archaeology and bioarchaeology to examine continuity and change in ancient Arabian mortuary practices. While most previous investigations have been limited geographically to Egypt and the Levant, this volume focuses on the lesser-studied southeastern Arabian Peninsula, showing what death and burial can reveal about the lifestyles of the region’s prehistoric communities.
In case studies from Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain, contributors explore the transition from the earliest to the most complex mortuary monuments in the Bronze Age. They also look at broader changes in mortuary rituals from the Neolithic period through the late Pre-Islamic period, and they discuss sites that illustrate more nuanced shifts in burial practices between the Hafit and Umm an-Nar cultures. Specific topics include animal offerings, communal tombs, and ancient mobility and subsistence strategies.
By using skeletal remains as a rich source of scientific data that complements studies of burial context, this volume represents an important turning point for mortuary research in the region. Its novel interdisciplinary and international perspective provides a synthesis of new ideas and interpretations that will guide future archaeological research in Arabia and beyond.
Kimberly D. Williams is associate professor of anthropology at Temple University. Lesley A. Gregoricka is associate professor of anthropology at University of South Alabama.