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Burying Children and Infants at Kadruka 23: New Insights into Juvenile Identity and Disposal of the Dead in the Nubian Neolithic

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Abstract

Kadruka 23 is a relatively undisturbed funerary mound located in the Northern State of the Sudan, dating to the fth millennium, also known as the Nubian Middle Neolithic. Begun in 2014, the excavations at the site have already brought to light nearly 40 burials, a majority of which belongs to juvenile subjects. A concentration and seemingly codi ed treatment of very young individuals was immediately remarked upon. With the knowledge that such practices have been observed elsewhere, this hypothesis about di erential treatment based on age, is one we wish to develop in further detail. The demarcation of the very young deceased is underscored by several phenomena. We have identi ed a preferential placement within the cemetery (at the top of the mound), the association of mortuary goods not found with older individuals (bead waistbands, ceramic and shell spoons, etc.), consistent placement of ceramics (slightly above the burial level), as well as a variety of burial positions (not seen in the signi cantly more codi ed disposal of the older deceased). Our aim is to improve comprehension of the identity of the young dead, and their place in society before and after death.

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... In KDK23 cemetery, both sexes are buried and all ages are represented, from stillborn to old age. There is no evidence of any kind of selective burial practice, particularly for the youngest (Maines et al. 2017), and the mortality profile corresponds to an "ordinary" ancient mortality, an "attritional mortality" (without selection and without crisis). It contains females and males, with no significant differences (although a general sex-ratio cannot be calculated, due to the poor state of preservation of hip-bones), and adults and non-adults of all ages. ...
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