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Iberomaurusian funerary customs: new evidence from unpublished records of the 1950s excavations of the Taforalt necropolis (Morocco

Abstract : The Iberomaurusian necropolis of Taforalt (Morocco) was excavated by Jean Roche in the 1950s and contains 28 multiple graves. The presence of particular sepulchral structures, mouflon horns and the use of ochre testify to complex funerary practices. Given the absence of detailed excavation records, the mortuary behavior was investigated in previous works analyzing the human skeletal collection (the contents of each grave reconstructed through the ID number on bones; the distribution of intentionally modified specimens: ochre-dyeing, cut marks). The results suggested that the burial area included pri- mary and secondary depositions of about 40 adolescents and adults. Treatment of the cadaver and manipulation of dry bones were attested, and intentional violence and cannibalism could be hypothesized. Recently, Jean Roche kindly made available some unpublished field photographs and plots regardingthe 1950s excavations of the necropolis. In this work we analyze these new documents in order to test the validity of the hypotheses previously advanced, especially regarding the presence of contextual primary and secondary depositions, the division of the bones of the same individual in different graves, each containing the bones of several persons, and the deliberate intervention in previous burial sites. We also describe some additional aspects of the funerary customs of the Taforalt population (e.g. bovid horns and stones associated to the graves). This study supports our previous conclusions and reveals a complex of funerary rituals with the structure of the rites of passage, which probably reflect specific conceptions of life and death, enabling the establishment ofgroup identity. These rituals had probably evolved during the time period in which the necropolis was used.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01068270
Contributor : Gisèle Geoffroy <>
Submitted on : Thursday, September 25, 2014 - 12:27:19 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, October 31, 2020 - 3:08:23 AM

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Valentina Mariotti, Silvana Condemi, Maria Giovanna Belcastro. Iberomaurusian funerary customs: new evidence from unpublished records of the 1950s excavations of the Taforalt necropolis (Morocco. Journal of Archaeological Science, Elsevier, 2014, 49, pp.488-499. ⟨10.1016/j.jas.2014.05.037⟩. ⟨hal-01068270⟩

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