The Chalcolithic cemetery at Tell Yunatsite: problems of interpretation
Keywords:Tell Yunatsite, cemeteries of the Karanovo VI and Sălcuţa III cultures, microstratigraphy, spatial distribution, demography
This paper discusses the Copper Age cemetery of Tell Yunatsite from the positions of chronostratigraphy and ritual characteristics. The burials’ relative stratigraphy is established by the correlation between their elevation and the ground surface of the destroyed village. The burials performed soon after the village’s destruction were located in the ruins and on the edge of the tell. Stratigraphically, the burials discovered in a grey leveling deposit turned out to be later than the houses. The demographic comparison of the cemetery and the destroyed village shows that they were used by the same population. The selective sex and age pattern of the cemetery is explained in terms of its longer use. The demographic patterns of the contemporaneous cemeteries of the Karanovo VI and Sălcuţa III cultures show ‘normal’ trends, but specific sex and age patterns are also known from certain burial sites. The positions of the dead at Yunatsite are varied, similarly to the other cemeteries of the Karanovo VI and Sălcuţa III cultures. The orientation of the dead does not reveal any specificity either; common orientation is not regarded as a local feature. The rarity of grave goods also demonstrates the similarity of the Yunatsite cemetery to the contemporaneous burial sites.