Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 4

Prehistory Related Abstracts

4 Burial Findings in Prehistory Qatar: Archaeological Perspective

Authors: Sherine El-Menshawy

Abstract:

Death, funerary beliefs and customs form an essential feature of belief systems and practices in many cultures. It is evident that during the pre-historical periods, various techniques of corpses burial and funerary rituals were conducted. Occasionally, corpses were merely buried in the sand, or in a grave where the body is placed in a contracted position- with knees drawn up under the chin and hands normally lying before the face- with mounds of sand, marking the grave or the bodies were burnt. However, common practice, that was demonstrable in the archaeological record, was burial. The earliest graves were very simple consisting of a shallow circular or oval pits in the ground. The current study focuses on the material culture at Qatar during the pre-historical period, specifically their funerary architecture and burial practices. Since information about burial customs and funerary practices in Qatar prehistory is both scarce and fragmentary, the importance of such study is to answer research questions related to funerary believes and burial habits during the early stages of civilization transformations at prehistory Qatar compared with Mesopotamia, since chronologically, the earliest pottery discovered in Qatar belongs to prehistoric Ubaid culture of Mesopotamia, that was collected from the excavations. This will lead to deep understanding of life and social status in pre-historical period at Qatar. The research also explores the relationship between pre-history Qatar funerary traditions and those of neighboring cultures in the Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, with the aim of ascertaining the distinctive aspects of pre-history Qatar culture, the reception of classical culture and the role it played in the creation of local cultural identities in the Near East. Methodologies of this study based on published books and articles in addition to unpublished reports of the Danish excavation team that excavated in and around Doha, Qatar archaeological sites from the 50th. The study is also constructed on compared material related to burial customs found in Mesopotamia. Therefore this current research: (i) Advances knowledge of the burial customs of the ancient people who inhabited Qatar, a study which is unknown recently to scholars, the study though will apply deep understanding of the history of ancient Qatar and its culture and values with an aim to share this invaluable human heritage. (ii) The study is of special significance for the field of studies, since evidence derived from the current study has great value for the study of living conditions, social structure, religious beliefs and ritual practices. (iii) Excavations brought to light burials of different categories. The graves date to the bronze and Iron ages. Their structure varies between mounds above the ground or burials below the ground level. Evidence comes from sites such as Al-Da’asa, Ras Abruk, and Al-Khor. Painted Ubaid sherds of Mesopotamian culture have been discovered in Qatar from sites such as Al-Da’asa, Ras Abruk, and Bir Zekrit. In conclusion, there is no comprehensive study which has been done and lack of general synthesis of information about funerary practices is problematic. Therefore, the study will fill in the gaps in the area.

Keywords: Prehistory, Qatar, burial, archaeological, findings

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3 Passing-On Cultural Heritage Knowledge: Entrepreneurial Approaches for a Higher Educational Sustainability

Authors: Ioana Simina Frincu

Abstract:

As institutional initiatives often fail to provide good practices when it comes to heritage management or to adapt to the changing environment in which they function and to the audiences they address, private actions represent viable strategies for sustainable knowledge acquisition. Information dissemination to future generations is one of the key aspects in preserving cultural heritage and is successfully feasible even in the absence of original artifacts. Combined with the (re)discovery of natural landscape, open-air exploratory approaches (archeoparks) versus an enclosed monodisciplinary rigid framework (traditional museums) are more likely to 'speak the language' of a larger number of people, belonging to a variety of categories, ages, and professions. Interactive sites are efficient ways of stimulating heritage awareness and increasing the number of visitors of non-interactive/static cultural institutions owning original pieces of history, delivering specialized information, and making continuous efforts to preserve historical evidence (relics, manuscripts, etc.). It is high time entrepreneurs took over the role of promoting cultural heritage, bet it under a more commercial yet more attractive form (business). Inclusive, participatory type of activities conceived by experts from different domains/fields (history, anthropology, tourism, sociology, business management, integrative sustainability, etc.) have better chances to ensure long term cultural benefits for both adults and children, especially when and where the educational discourse fails. These unique self-experience leisure activities, which offer everyone the opportunity to recreate history by him-/her-self, to relive the ancestors’ way of living, surviving and exploring should be regarded not as pseudo-scientific approaches but as important pre-steps to museum experiences. In order to support this theory, focus will be laid on two different examples: one dynamic, in the outdoors (the Boario Terme Archeopark from Italy) and one experimental, held indoor (the reconstruction of the Neolithic sanctuary of Parta, Romania as part of a transdisciplinary academic course) and their impact on young generations. The conclusion of this study shows that the increasingly lower engagement of youth (students) in discovering and understanding history, archaeology, and heritage can be revived by entrepreneurial projects.

Keywords: Prehistory, Educational Tourism, archeopark, open air museum, Parta sanctuary

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2 Palaeo-Environmental Reconstruction of the Wet Zone of Sri Lanka: A Zooarchaeological Perspective

Authors: Kalangi Rodrigo

Abstract:

Sri Lanka has been known as an island which has a diverse variety of prehistoric occupation among ecological zones. Defining the paleoecology of the past societies has been an archaeological thought developed in the 1960s. It is mainly concerned with the reconstruction from available geological and biological evidence of past biota, populations, communities, landscapes, environments, and ecosystems. Sri Lanka has dealt with this subject, and considerable research has been already undertaken. The fossil and material record of Sri Lanka’s Wet Zone tropical forests continues from c. 38,000–34,000 ybp. This early and persistent human fossil, technical, and cultural florescence, as well as a collection of well-preserved tropical-forest rock shelters with associated 'on-site' palaeoenvironmental records, makes Sri Lanka a central and unusual case study to determine the extent and strength of early human tropical forest encounters. Excavations carried out in prehistoric caves in the low country wet zone has shown that in the last 50,000 years, the temperature in the lowland rainforests has not exceeded 5°C. When taking Batadombalena alone, the entire seven layers have yielded an uninterrupted occupation of Acavus sp and Canerium zeylanicum, a plant that grows in the middle of the rainforest. Acavus, which is highly sensitive to rainforest ecosystems, has been well documented in many of the lowland caves, confirming that the wetland rainforest environment has remained intact at least for the last 50,000 years. If the dry and arid conditions in the upper hills regions affected the wet zone, the Tufted Gray Lunger (semnopithecus priam), must also meet with the prehistoric caves in the wet zone thrown over dry climate. However, the bones in the low country wet zone do not find any of the fragments belonging to Turfed Gray Lunger, and prehistoric human consumption is bestowed with purple-faced leaf monkey (Trachypithecus vetulus) and Toque Macaque (Macaca Sinica). The skeletal remains of Lyriocephalus scutatus, a full-time resident in rain forests, have also been recorded among lowland caves. But, in zoological terms, these remains may be the remains of the Barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak), which is currently found in the wet zone. For further investigations, the mtDNA test of genetic diversity (Bottleneck effect) and pollen study from lowland caves should determine whether the wet zone climate has persisted over the last 50,000 years, or whether the dry weather affected in the mountainous region has invaded the wet zone.

Keywords: Paleoecology, Reconstruction, Prehistory, zooarchaeology, palaeo-climate

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1 Reconsidering the Palaeo-Environmental Reconstruction of the Wet Zone of Sri Lanka: A Zooarchaeological Perspective

Authors: Kalangi Rodrigo, Kelum N. Manamendra-Arachchi

Abstract:

Bones, teeth, and shells have been acknowledged over the last two centuries as evidence of chronology, Palaeo-environment, and human activity. Faunal traces are valid evidence of past situations because they have properties that have not changed over long periods of time. Sri Lanka has been known as an Island, which has a diverse variation of prehistoric occupation among ecological zones. Defining the Paleoecology of the past societies has been an archaeological thought developed in the 1960s. It is mainly concerned with the reconstruction from available geological and biological evidence of past biota, populations, communities, landscapes, environments, and ecosystems. Sri Lanka has dealt with this subject and considerable research has been already undertaken. The fossil and material record of Sri Lanka’s Wet Zone tropical forests continues from c. 38,000–34,000 ybp. This early and persistent human fossil, technical, and cultural florescence, as well as a collection of well-preserved tropical-forest rock shelters with associated ' on-site ' Palaeoenvironmental records, makes Sri Lanka a central and unusual case study to determine the extent and strength of early human tropical forest encounters. Excavations carried out in prehistoric caves in the low country wet zone has shown that in the last 50,000 years, the temperature in the lowland rainforests has not exceeded 5 degrees. Based on Semnopithecus Priam (Gray Langur) remains unearned from wet zone prehistoric caves, it has been argued that periods of momentous climate changes during the LGM and Terminal Pleistocene/Early Holocene boundary, with a recognizable preference for semi-open ‘Intermediate’ rainforest or edges. Continuous Genus Acavus and Oligospira occupation along with uninterrupted horizontal pervasive of Canarium sp. (‘kekuna’ nut) have proven that temperatures in the lowland rain forests have not changed by at least 5 oC over the last 50,000 years. Site Catchment or Territorial analysis cannot be no longer defensible, due to time-distance based factors as well as optimal foraging theory failed as a consequences of prehistoric people were aware of the decrease in cost-benefit ratio and located sites, and generally played out a settlement strategy that minimized the ratio of energy expanded to energy produced.

Keywords: Prehistory, zooarchaeology, palaeo-environment, palaeo-ecology

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