Re: Origins: Neaderthal Burial Customs

Glenn Morton (
Wed, 18 Dec 1996 21:56:04

>In reply to Glenn Morton's message of Wed 18 Dec 1996 12:24 CT
>> I forgot something in my reply to Dr. Frix. Today the ONLY being
>> who buries his dead, has a widespread belief in an after life.
>> Neanderthal buried his dead!
>Perhaps. Maybe it was a matter of survival. We know that food left
>out attracts bears and all other forms of undesirable wildlife to our
>campsites. Perhaps Neanderthal buried his dead to improve his
>survival by removing "food" from the predators.

Their burials were more than merely dumping Aunt Annie into a hole. The
bodies were flexed. This means that they were tied up in such a manner that
the knees were forced to the chest. This is intentional arrangement of the
body.(Dean Falk, Braindance,(New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1992), p. 181-182).

Even babies bodies were flexed.

"The Dederiyeh cave is located 400 km north of Damascus and 60 km
northwest of Aleppo. The cave is providing the best evidence yet of
Neanderthal burial practices,as well as data on the morphology of Neanderthals
and the chronological position of human types in Levantine Mousterian
contexts. The infant was found in situ in the Mousterian deposit, lying on its
back with arms extended and legs flexed, indicating an intentional burial. A
subrectangular limestone slab at the top of the head and a small piece of
triangular flint just on the infant's heart were found in the most sterile
layer of the burial fill. A limestone slab of this type is rare in the
Dederiyeh cave deposits."~Takeru Akazawa et al, "Neanderthal Infant Burial,"
Nature, 378, Oct. 19, 1995, p. 586

Also, the strategy you propose is not one used by the Mbuti and Veddas. The
let granny lay where she died and move away from there.

"Returning to the disposal of the body, hunters regard this as a means
of isolating the dead person's spirit,but it may be isolated for either of two
reason, to get rid of it entirely or to limit its activities so that it may be
used. The concept stated above greately widens the range of disposal
techniques. The easiest way is simply to abandon the body at the place of
death, and to avoid returning to that spot until the disturbance is over,
ususally after several years, when the dead person's spirit has had time to go
away. The Mbuti Pygmies used to abandon it before they were taught by the
Negro villagers to bury their dead. The Veddas of Ceylon, who lived in rock
shelters during the rainy season, did the same. They had so many shelters
available that they could afford to leave some of them unoccupied until the
remains had disappeared. "Carleton S. Coon, The Hunting Peoples, (Boston:
Little, Brown and Co., 1971), p. 331-332

What this means is that burial is not necessary to avoid predators etc. It
also means that lack of burial does not prove a being is not human, but burial
does prove a being is human. neanderthals buried their dead.


Foundation,Fall and Flood