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Practice of Archery in Farming community of the middle Neolithic : Funerary Display and Social Division of Labor

Abstract : The first enclosures and monumental burials that emerge with the Cerny culture during the 5th millennium BC offer a privileged insight of social organization of the farming communities in the Paris Basin. Initial analyses of the burial deposits stressed the symbolic value of the grave-goods, exalting hunting (arrowheads), wild and masculinity (artifacts made of bone selected from specific specimens and bestiary). The sex assessment of the adult skeletal sample shows a strict allocation of the arrowheads in the male graves. Further bioarchaeological studies show that in all probability, the practice of archery of these individuals was actual. Both nonpathlogical skeletal modeling (functional adaptation of the forearm bones and the clavicle in response to mechanical loads) and pathological indicators (enthesopathies as sequellae of repeated forceful use of upper limb muscles) are consistent and reflect a higher intensity of the upper limb activity in males buried with the archery equipment than the other males. The burial organization in monumental cemeteries reflects a specific treatment for these individuals. In contrast, the bioarchaeological analyzes reveal a certain degree of invisibility of women. While the regular practice of archery by a specific social group of the Cerny population appears as a fact, a problem arises however because the subsistence economy of that population, known through archaeozoological study, is based on cattle. Furthermore, none archaeological and anthropological data provide univocal evidence to link the practice of archery to episodes of conflict. Distortion between the burial ideology and daily life occurs, in which the central figure of the archer and the prestige related to him are points of discussion.
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Contributor : Aline Thomas <>
Submitted on : Thursday, April 23, 2020 - 4:26:57 PM
Last modification on : Friday, June 12, 2020 - 5:38:06 PM

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Aline Thomas. Practice of Archery in Farming community of the middle Neolithic : Funerary Display and Social Division of Labor. 3rd International Congress Biomedical Sciences and Methods in Archaeology, 6-9 novembre 2014, 2014, Bordeaux, France. ⟨mnhn-02552518⟩

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