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University College London
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Jar burials as early settlement markers in southeast European Neolithic.

Krum Bacvarov
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Jar burials, as a specific manifestation of prehistoric mortuary practices, are related to the earliest phases of Neolithic development in southeast Europe, and probably even to neolithization itself. Found sporadically in the broader context of the other disposal types related to the domestic/mortuary space, including formal or secondary inhumation or even cremation, jar burials nevertheless show certain cultural and chronological features, which could be considered in relation to the problems of the directions and results of early farming interactions in the southeast European Neolithic. The fact that the area of the Struma and Vardar valleys, and the west Rhodope emerged as a distribution “nucleus” of jar burial is in keeping with the overall picture of the Neolithic development in the Balkans. These specific infant burials in the living space of the Neolithic societies stand out as a cultural marker, not the least in relation to their special role in the early farming cult.

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