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Talking Dead. New burials from Tron Bon Lei (Alor Island, Indonesia) inform on the evolution of mortuary practices from the terminal Pleistocene to the Holocene in Southeast Asia

Samper-Carro, Sofia C; O'Connor, Sue; Mahirta, .; Kealy, Shimona; Shipton, Ceri; (2022) Talking Dead. New burials from Tron Bon Lei (Alor Island, Indonesia) inform on the evolution of mortuary practices from the terminal Pleistocene to the Holocene in Southeast Asia. PLoS One , 17 (8) , Article e0267635. 10.1371/journal.pone.0267635. Green open access

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Abstract

Burial elaborations are a human behaviour that, in recent contexts can inform on social diversification, belief systems, and the introduction of new practices resulting from migration or cultural transmission. The study of mortuary practices in Mainland and Island Southeast Asia has revealed complex and diverse treatments of the deceased. This paper contributes to this topic with the description of three new burials excavated in Tron Bon Lei (Alor Island, Indonesia) dated to 7.5, 10, and 12 kya cal BP. In addition to the bioskeletal profiles and palaeohealth observations, we propose the adoption of archaeothanatological methods to characterise burial types in the region. Through the analysis of skeletal element representation, body position, articulation, and grave associations, we provide an example of a holistic approach to mortuary treatments in the Lesser Sunda Islands. Our results provide significant new data for understanding the evolution and diversification of burial practices in Southeast Asia, contributing to a growing body of literature describing prehistoric socio-cultural behaviour in this region.

Type: Article
Title: Talking Dead. New burials from Tron Bon Lei (Alor Island, Indonesia) inform on the evolution of mortuary practices from the terminal Pleistocene to the Holocene in Southeast Asia
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0267635
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0267635
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 Samper-Carro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Archaeology, Burial, Humans, Indonesia, Morgue, Mortuary Practice
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10155382
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