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Values of IL, ILty, and percentages of retouched blades in various MP sites. Reprinted from Hovers (2009, fig. 8.4) with permission from Oxford University Press.  

Values of IL, ILty, and percentages of retouched blades in various MP sites. Reprinted from Hovers (2009, fig. 8.4) with permission from Oxford University Press.  

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... resembles that of caves: provisioning, on-site knapping, low investment in blank recycling, and high typological diversity. An important difference that sets open-air sites in the Med- iterranean zone apart from caves is the low frequencies of Levallois blanks and the elevated frequencies of expedient tools such as notches/denticulates ( fig. 2; Hovers 2009, table 8.2). The exceptions observed at Umm el Tlel and Hummal (Boëda, Griggo, and Noël-Soriano 2001;Hauck 2011) may be related to their locations in oases, often being used as habitation ...

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... In particular, Qafzeh Cave-located just outside of modern Nazareth-appears to have been a favoured location to camp for Middle Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers (Hovers, 2009;). Both sites have been dated to roughly 100,000 years ago (Hovers & Belfer-Cohen, 2013;. The graves themselves consist of inhumations in simple, relatively shallow pits. ...
... Evidence for mortuary ritual preceding the Upper Palaeolithic or Later Stone Age periods (that is, <45,000 years ago) is mainly restricted to caves and rockshelters in western Eurasia (Hovers & Belfer-Cohen, 2013;Pettitt, 2011). This is likely a natural preservation bias imposed by geological conditions. ...
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When looking at prehistory, we see that rituals have long been a human strategy to cope with change and challenges such as death, adversity and trauma. Archaeology reaches beyond a time accessible through oral history and historical documents to explore a trail deep in humanity’s past. This discipline relies on the materiality of human life: artefacts, building remains, pathways, worked landscapes, and monuments. But the archaeological focus goes beyond the physical to capture and trace human activity, sometimes mundane and sometimes grand. From material traces of ritual practices, we reconstruct ritual actions and analyse them to comprehend how particular rituals might have affected the people involved. Underlying the archaeological study of ritual is a concern about how it shapes human understanding, resilience, and engagement in the world, particularly in the face of crises and trauma.KeywordsRitual practiceReconstructing ritual actionsRitual in prehistoryRitual in archaeologyAncient ritualsRitual as strategy
... The topic of Neandertal burial is highly controversial, raising questions about the similarity in funerary activity between the two highly encephalized human species, the question of cultural transmission between the two groups and the underlying intention behind the practice (symbolism vs utilitarism). Additionally, criteria for burial recognition have been discussed but remain disputable because some of the criteria proposed as a threshold to prove the presence of Middle Paleolithic burials would not allow some historical burials to be classified as such [12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][23][24][25][26] . Thus, the Neandertal burial debate can sometimes reach beyond the scientific framework to an ideological level. ...
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... Within such debates, a key question concerns Neanderthal mortuary activity. [16][17][18][19][20][21][22] Here, we define mortuary behavior or mortuary activity in broad terms as any activity involving and directed toward the dead body of a conspecific which may, but does not necessarily, involve any kind of ritualized or symbolic activity; and funerary activity or funerary behavior as referring more specifically to examples where activities surrounding the body of a dead conspecific involve a ritualized or symbolic component, as discussed further below. The partial remains of 10 Neanderthal men, women, and children, found during Ralph Solecki's 1951-1960 excavations at Shanidar Cave, Iraqi Kurdistan 23-26 (Figure 1), have featured centrally in discussions about whether Neanderthals conducted purposeful burial, how variable their mortuary behavior was in time and space, if deliberate burials signify the beginnings of religious belief, and if sites with multiple burials like Shanidar Cave signify notions of "persistent places" of burial and landscape attachment-all behaviors strongly associated with modern ...
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... R. Soc. B 373: 20180212 because one cannot say that all of the dead were buried in all Neanderthal groups; where they were, all age ranges, from fetuses and infants to adults, received similar treatment, in materially simplistic, single inhumations in shallow graves [45,46]. The same seems to have applied for early H. sapiens around the same time, at least in the Near East, such as in Skhul and Qafzeh caves [46,47]. ...
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