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Journal Articles Science Advances Year : 2024

A ritual murder shaped the Early and Middle Neolithic across Central and Southern Europe

Abstract

In the Rhône Valley’s Middle Neolithic gathering site of Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux (France), the positioning of two females within a structure aligned with the solstices is atypical. Their placement (back and prone) under the overhang of a silo in front of a third in a central position suggests a ritualized form of homicidal ligature strangulation. The first occurrence dates back to the Mesolithic, and it is from the Early Neolithic of Central Europe that the practice expands, becoming a sacrificial rite associated with an agricultural context in the Middle Neolithic. Examining 20 cases from 14 sites spanning nearly two millennia from Eastern Europe to Catalonia reveals the evolution of this ritual murder practice.
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Dates and versions

hal-04550101 , version 1 (17-04-2024)

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Bertrand Ludes, Ameline Alcouffe, Irina Tupikova, Patrice Gérard, Yaramila Tchérémissinoff, et al.. A ritual murder shaped the Early and Middle Neolithic across Central and Southern Europe. Science Advances , 2024, 10 (15), 16 p. ⟨10.1126/sciadv.adl3374⟩. ⟨hal-04550101⟩
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