October 20, 2020


Aim for Excellence

New funerary and ritual behaviors of the Neolithic Iberian populations discovered

Graphic: Skull found in the Cueva de la Dehesilla check out more  Credit history: Universidad de...

Graphic: Skull found in the Cueva de la Dehesilla
check out more 

Credit history: Universidad de Sevilla

Experts from the Department of Prehistory and Archaeology of the College of Seville have just released a research in the prestigious journal PLOS A single on an crucial archaeological come across in the Cueva de la Dehesilla (Cádiz). Precisely, two human skulls and a juvenile goat were identified along with various archaeological buildings and materials from a funerary ritual from the Center Neolithic time period (4800-4000 BC) hitherto unfamiliar in the Iberian Peninsula.

“This locating opens new strains of investigate and anthropological eventualities, in which human and animal sacrifice may have been related to ancestral cults, propitiatory rituals and divine prayers in commemorative festivities,” points out US researcher Daniel García Rivero.

The archaeological internet site situated in the Cueva de la Dehesilla is made up of two adult human skulls, a person male a person feminine, the former being older. The feminine skull exhibits a depression in the frontal bone, which probably comes from an incomplete trepanation, as very well as cuts in the occipital bone made by decapitation. In addition, a wall was found separating the human skulls and the skeleton of the goat, on the a person hand, from a stone altar with a stele and a hearth, on the other. Finally, several uniquely embellished ceramic vessels, some lithic objects and charred plant continues to be were identified in the so-named Locus two.

“These elements display various properties that make it an remarkable archaeological come across. The differential remedy of skulls with traumatological proof along with sacrificed animals, as very well as the documented archaeological buildings and materials do not match the normative funerary history we were performing with right up until now. This discovery is of good great importance not only due to the fact of its peculiarity, but also due to the fact it constitutes a sealed, intact ritual deposit, which is a good possibility to achieve a more specific insight into the funerary and ritual behaviours of the Neolithic populations of the Iberian Peninsula”, emphasises professor García Rivero.

Neolithic funeral rituals

This operate contributes in a particular way to the awareness of the funerary rituals of the middle section of the 5th millennium ahead of Christ, at the moment the least very well recognised time period of the Neolithic populations of the Iberian Peninsula as a entire. The scarce funerary history from that time exhibits fundamentally person burials, with secondary burials being unusual. The sort of context just identified is seriously amazing. Burials ordinarily come about in regions of habitat, and are mostly involved with continues to be of ceramics and shells, as very well as residences, which reflect the great importance of activities related to the use of fireplace, but without stone buildings like people now documented in the mountains of Cádiz.

The research and assessment of the whole funerary history of this time period allows us to provide a variety of cultural mosaic in relation to the funerary and ritual traditions of these peasant and herding populations, with a probable division amongst the Andalusian area and the jap seaboard of the peninsula, the two locations in which most knowledge is available nowadays.


The 2017 archaeological campaign in Cueva de la Dehesilla acquired economic support from various entities and programmes at the College of Seville and the Research Centre for Anthropology and Well being at the College of Coimbra. This investigate was carried out in the framework of the assignments ‘High-resolution chronology and cultural evolution in the South of the Iberian Peninsula (circa 7000-4000 cal BC): a multiscalar approach’, of the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not dependable for the accuracy of information releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any facts by means of the EurekAlert method.