New article published by Costa, C., Baptista, L., Gomes, S., Rodrigues, Z., & Santos, D. in Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Faunal remains associated with human burials are a well-known practice in Southern Portugal during the Middle Bronze Age (end of the third millennium until the first half of the second millennium BC). The funerary architecture is mainly marked by hypogea, where articulated segments of anterior limbs or isolated bones from the front limbs of cattle or sheep/goat are present as grave goods. Along with hypogea, there are also examples of burial contexts in pits with faunal remains associated. This paper presents data on a circular pit from Montinhos 6 (Southern Portugal) with two primary interments, where disarticulated sheep/goat and hare remains are included as grave goods. Some of the bones (both hare and sheep/goat) were included as dry bones, meaning that animal corpses were manipulated earlier. It allows considering the hypothesis that such animal remains have been used in a previous social context. The animal corpses decay, and some bones were chosen, collected, and lastly integrated within the funerary context. This treatment of the bones suggests a well-planned integration of the animals into the funerary rituals. Regarding the meaning of these faunal remains, one may interpret them as “manipulated artefacts” or amulets, invoking graces for hunting and/or herding practices. In addition, sheep/goat front limb bones (humerii and radii) were added as well, probably with fresh tissues attached, suggesting rituals of funerary commensality.

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