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Set Apart From Within: Articulated Women In Commingled Tombs From Early Bronze Age Arabia

  • 10 Mar 2022
  • 7:30 PM (PST)
  • Willamette University College of Law 245 Winter Street SE Salem, OR 97301 United States

Set Apart From Within: Articulated Women In Commingled Tombs From Early Bronze Age Arabia

AIA Society: Salem
Lecturer: Lesley Gregoricka

The vast majority of individuals who died during the Umm an-Nar period (2700-2000 BCE) of the Early Bronze Age in southeastern Arabia were interred within large communal tombs; following decomposition, their skeletons became intentionally commingled with hundreds of others. Only in rare cases do archaeologists discover individuals whose bodies remained intact after death.  This lecture will discuss two women from two Umm an-Nar tombs whose skeletons remained fully articulated from the sites of Shimal and Tell Abraq in what is now the United Arab Emirates.

The Shimal female was interred with a dog laid alongside her head, indicating that she may have engaged in hunting or herding activities. The Tell Abraq female was paralyzed from the waist down and likely suffered from polio, suggesting that she received care as a member of her community despite her disability and non-local status, as evaluated by isotopic analysis. Both women were set apart in meaningful ways, speaking to an identity that granted them special status in death.


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