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by Archaeology Newsroom

Burials

Man started to bury the dead during the Middle Palaeolithic. The geographic distribution of graves from this period is quite broad. Burial sites have been located in West Europe, Near East and in Asia, as far as Uzbekistan. The oldest of them have been found in Skhul and Tabun in Near East and are about 120.000 years old. The practice of burial is the same for both sexes: a trench is dug, the corpse is covered with a slab, burial offerings -tools, animal horns or even flowers- are placed by the dead. The burials of the Late Palaeolithic have been better preserved, therefore they are more numerous. They occur in every cultural phase and are distributed throughout Europe, from Siberia (Malta) to West France (Cro-Magnon, La Madeleine). During the Late Palaeolithic special attention was paid to the construction of the grave. The burials vary, being individual or group ones, while examples of double or triple graves occur. The body orientation and its position present a wide variety. All burials contain offerings, however, in certain cases these offerings are significantly numerous as at the site Sungir in Russia. In Greece, Palaeolithic burials are unknown as yet.