Identification of dermestid pupal chambers on Southern Levant human bones: inference for reconstruction of Middle Bronze Age mortuary practices

Jean Bernard Huchet, F Le Mort, R Rabinovich, Soren Blau, Helene Coqueugniot, Baruch Arensburg

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40 Citations (Scopus)


Unique bone damage identified on Middle Bronze Age human skeletal material from the Southern Levant provided important information about the processes of modification and the possible funerary practices resulting in such damage. By comparing archaeological remains with recent skeletal material and by using computed tomography (CT) scans and 3D imaging techniques, the damage is interpreted as pupal chambers created by dermestid beetles. Using skeletal remains from two Middle Bronze Age sites, Jericho Tomb E1 and Munhata Tomb 641, we then discuss how the bores and tunnels left by dermestid beetles on human bones might constitute an interpretative key to the funerary practices of Middle Bronze Age collective burials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3793 - 3803
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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