The life cycle of the houses in the final Late Copper Age horizon at Tell Yunatsite
Keywords:Late Chalcolithic, houses, architecture, interior, contextual analysis, enemy attack, settlement burial
The article summarizes the accumulated information from the investigated 11 houses of the last Late Chalcolithic settlement at Tell Yunatsite. The Late Chalcolithic house is discussed both as a functional and a symbolically arranged place where real and mystical (profane and sacred) intertwine.
The contextual method that was applied allows for identifying the various functions of the house. The residential function was the primary one. The everyday activities of the inhabitants took place in the house: childbirth, raising the children, preparing food, and several other household and economic activities. On the other hand, inside the house the individual felt in a secure space, protected by the household deities that prevented the penetration of evil forces.
The settlement was burnt down and the inhabitants of the houses fell victim to the attackers and the fire. The survivors returned and buried those who died outside the buildings. Those who were buried under the ruins were left as they were. The survivors performed a complex burial ritual: they covered symbolically with soil not only the houses, but also the space between them. In this way, they ‘closed down’ and put an end to the life cycle of the houses and transformed the settlement into a cemetery of those who died in the military clash.