The evolution and development of human mortuary behaviors is of enormous cultural significance. Here we report a richly‐decorated young infant burial (AVH‐1) from Arma Veirana (Liguria, northwestern Italy) that is directly dated to 10,211–9910 cal BP (95.4% probability), placing it within the early Holocene and therefore attributable to the early Mesolithic, a cultural period from which well‐documented burials are exceedingly rare. Virtual dental histology, proteomics, and aDNA indicate that the infant was a 40–50 days old female. Associated artifacts indicate significant material and emotional investment in the child’s interment. The detailed biological profile of AVH‐1 establishes the child as the earliest European near‐neonate documented to be female. The Arma Veirana burial thus provides insight into sex/gender‐based social status, funerary treatment, and the attribution of personhood to the youngest individuals among prehistoric hunter‐gatherer groups and adds substantially to the scant data on mortuary practices from an important period in prehistory shortly following the end of the last Ice Age.

An infant burial from Arma Veirana in northwestern Italy provides insights into funerary practices and female personhood in early Mesolithic Europe

Fabio Negrino
2021-01-01

Abstract

The evolution and development of human mortuary behaviors is of enormous cultural significance. Here we report a richly‐decorated young infant burial (AVH‐1) from Arma Veirana (Liguria, northwestern Italy) that is directly dated to 10,211–9910 cal BP (95.4% probability), placing it within the early Holocene and therefore attributable to the early Mesolithic, a cultural period from which well‐documented burials are exceedingly rare. Virtual dental histology, proteomics, and aDNA indicate that the infant was a 40–50 days old female. Associated artifacts indicate significant material and emotional investment in the child’s interment. The detailed biological profile of AVH‐1 establishes the child as the earliest European near‐neonate documented to be female. The Arma Veirana burial thus provides insight into sex/gender‐based social status, funerary treatment, and the attribution of personhood to the youngest individuals among prehistoric hunter‐gatherer groups and adds substantially to the scant data on mortuary practices from an important period in prehistory shortly following the end of the last Ice Age.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1063796
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