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New insights into Eastern Beringian mortuary behavior: A terminal Pleistocene double infant burial at Upward Sun River

Potter, BA and Irish, JD and Reuther, JD and McKinney, HJ (2014) New insights into Eastern Beringian mortuary behavior: A terminal Pleistocene double infant burial at Upward Sun River. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, 111 (48). pp. 17060-17065. ISSN 1091-6490

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Abstract

Here we report on the discovery of two infant burials dating to 11,500 calibrated years (cal) B.P. at the Upward Sun River site in central Alaska. The infants were interred in a pit feature with associated organic and lithic grave goods, including the earliest known North American hafted bifaces with decorated antler foreshafts. Skeletal and dental analyses indicate that Individual 1 died shortly after birth and Individual 2 was a late-term fetus, making these the youngest-aged late Pleistocene individuals known for the Americas and the only known prenate, offering, to our knowledge, the first opportunity to explore mortuary treatment of the youngest members of a terminal Pleistocene North American population. This burial was situated 40 cm directly below a cremated 3-y-old child previously discovered in association with a central hearth of a residential feature. The burial and cremation are contemporaneous, and differences in body orientation, treatment, and associated grave goods within a single feature and evidence for residential occupation between burial episodes indicate novel mortuary behaviors. The human remains, grave goods, and associated fauna provide rare direct data on organic technology, economy, seasonality of residential occupations, and infant/child mortality of terminal Pleistocene Beringians.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted version of the following article: Potter, B.A., Irish, J. D., Reuther, J. D. and McKinney H. J. (2014), New insights into Eastern Beringian mortuary behavior: A terminal Pleistocene double infant burial at Upward Sun River. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America, which has been published in final form at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1413131111
Uncontrolled Keywords: MD Multidisciplinary
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2015 10:54
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2017 15:54
DOI or Identification number: /10.1073/pnas.1413131111
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/653

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