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Mortuary practices at the Krapina Neandertal site.

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AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 72:381-397 (1987)
Mortuary Practices at the Krapina Neandertal Site
MARY D. RUSSELL
Department of Anthropology, Case Western Reserve Uniuersity,
Cleveland, Ohio 44106
Neandertals, Krapina, Taphonomy, Cutmarks,
KEY WORDS
Cannibalism, Burial
ABSTRACT
It has often been reported that the Krapina Neandertal remains bear incised linear striations which appear to be cutmarks. Here, the
plausibility of the striations as cutmarks is tested by comparing them to
Mousterian butchery marks on large fauna and to cutmarks on modern human
skeletons known to have been defleshed with stone tools. The anatomical
location, gross appearance, and frequency of occurrence of the striations on the
Krapina material do not resemble Mousterian butchery marks on reindeer.
The Krapina striations do closely match authenticated cutmarks on 22 modern
human skeletons defleshed with stone tools after partial decomposition, preparatory to secondary burial. Data are presented supporting the hypothesis
that the striations on the Krapina Neandertal remains are consistent with
postmortem processing of corpses with stone tools, probably in preparation for
burial of cleaned bones.
The HuSnjakovo rock shelter, in the hills
above the Croatian town of KraDina, was
excavated between 1899 and 1905 by D: Gorjanovic-Kramberger after hominid remains
and Middle Paleolithic stone tools were discovered in the Pleistocene layers of the site
(GorjanoviC-Kramberger, 1899, 1906, 1913;
Malez, 1970a; Russell, n.d.). The hominid
material was first identified as Homo sapiens
by GorjanoviC-Kramberger in his unpublished excavation diary for the year 1899l
(Gorjanovic-Kramberger, 19011, although he
classified the sample as Homo primigenius
var. Krapinensis in his 1906 monograph on
the Krapina hominids. Skerlj (1953) proposed
the name Homo neanderthalensis uar. Krapinensis. The Krapina hominids are now considered a sample of a n archaic European
population of Homo sapiens, informally called
Neandertals (Campbell, 1964; Brace, 1962,
1964; Trinkaus, 1975, 1985; Smith, 1976;
Day, 1977; Wolpoff, 1979, 1980). The bulk of
the hominid sample a t Krapina dates to the
last interglacial and the early last glacial,
although some specimens may be later
(Malez, 1970b,c).
The Krapina site yielded the largest hominid sample ever recovered from a single site.
Forty-three adults and adolescents as well as
0 1987 ALAN R. LISS, INC
several juveniles under 14 years of age (Trinkaus, 1985) are represented by over 650 hominid bone specimens, while as many as 75 to
82 individuals are represented by 282 teeth
(Wolpoff, 1979). The very fragmentary and
damaged condition of the Krapina remains
has traditionally been explained as evidence
of a n intertribal conflict over hunting territory, ending with a cannibalistic feast in
which human flesh, brains, and marrow were
consumed (GorjanoviC-Kramberger, 1906;
1909a,b; Klaatsch, 1923). The Krapina cannibalism scenario is found in a number of
anthropological text books and articles, to be
disputed or reckoned with, if not accepted
whole-heartedly (Keith, 1915; Boule, 1921;
Klaatsch, 1923; Sollas, 1924; HrdliEka, 1930;
MacCurdy, 1932; Skerlj, 1939; Courville,
1950; OiegoviC, 1958; Bergounioux, 1958;
Vallois, 1961; Coon, 1962; Howell, 1965; Cole
and Higgs, 1969; Roper, 1969; TomiC-Karovic, 1970; Smith, 1976; Ullrich, 1978; Burian and Wolf, 1978; Kennedy, 1980; LeMort,
Received April 4,1986; revision accepted September 10, 1986
'This may be the earliest written attribution of Neandertal
remains to Homo sapaens. Gorjanovie-Kramberger's unpublished field diaries are available for inspection a t the GeoloSkoPaleotoloski Muzej, Demetrova Ulica 1,Zagreb, Yugoslavia.
382
M.D. RUSSELL
1981; Binford, 1981; Campbell, 1982; Wymer,
1982; Trinkaus, 1985; Russell, 1987).
A number of workers have noted the presence of incised linear striations on many of
the hominid bone specimens from Krapina
(Smith, 1976; Ullrich, 1978; LeMort, 1981;
Trinkaus, 1985; Russell and LeMort, 1986).
These striations have most commonly been
interpreted as cutmarks (Smith, 1976; U11rich, 1978; LeMort, 1981; Russell and LeMort, 1986). Smith (1976) pointed out that
cutmarks would be consistent with the cannibalism hypothesis, to the extent that they
were evidence of post-mortem processing of
hominid remains with stone tools. Ullrich
(1978) asserted that the striations were definitely butchery marks made during defleshing of corpses by cannibals. Following Gorjanovik-Kramberger (1906b), Ullrich (1978)
offered a scenario in which every aspect of the
Krapina hominid collection’s physical condition was explained as evidence of cannibalistic activities (off-site selection and dismemberment of body parts for transportation to the
rock shelter, disjointing, filleting, and marrow and brain extractionlz.
Recently, a detailed refutation of the scenario was provided by Trinkaus (1985) who offered disproof of many elements of the
cannibalism hypothesis. For example, the extraordinarily fragmented condition of the
hominid remains was explained as the combined result of sedimentary pressure, prehistoric rock falls within the cave and excavation
damage; no evidence was found of the kind of
hammer blows considered diagnostic of human marrow extraction techniques (Trinkaus, 1985; Russell, 1986).
Trinkaus (1985)hypothesized that the preservation pattern at Krapina was consistent
with burial of the corpses. This hypothesis was
supported by comparing the preservation pattern of 39 skeletal elements a t Krapina to
preservation patterns observed a t other
Neandertal sites and a t recent burial sites. In
brief, evidence was presented demonstrating that relatively fragile and/or small bones
such as scapulae, cervical vertebrae, phalanges, and innominates were overrepresented a t Krapina, relative to the preservation patterns seen in unburied hominids of
equivalent geological age (Trinkaus, 1985).
However, the significance of the striations
observable on the Krapina hominid material
remains a n open question. Ullrich’s (1978)
claim that nearly 160 Krapina hominid bones
bear cutmarks made during filleting has not
been examined on a specimen by specimen
basis. In recent years, however, it has been
demonstrated that incised striations which
appear grossly to be cutmarks can be produced by nonhuman taphonomic agents (Binford, 1981; Bunn, 1981, 1982; Shipman
1981a,b; Shipman and Rose, 1983, 1984; Potts
and Shipman, 1981; Potts, 1982). For that
reason, Trinkaus questioned the authenticity of the putative Krapina cutmarks in general, although he conceded that some of the
striations could indeed be toolmarks (Trinkaus, 1985).
If some of the striations on the Krapina
remains are authentic defleshing marks, the
motive for defleshing remains open for discussion. To date, the Krapina striations have
been interpreted only within the context of
the cannibalism scenario (Smith, 1976; U11rich, 1978; LeMort, 1981; Trinkaus, 1985).
Verified ritual or gastronomic cannibalism
(as opposed to survival cannibalism occurring during episodes of starvation) is relatively rare in the ethnographic record (Brown
and k i n , 1983) and its very reality has
been questioned (Arens, 1979; cf. Brady,
1982). In contrast, defleshing human skeletons preparatory to secondary burial is a welldocumented and widespread mortuary practice (Hertz, 1907; Haddon, 1908; Lopatin,
1960; Driver, 1961; Meyers, 1971; Wagner,
1972; Alexiou, 1974; k i n , 1975; Crocker,
1977; Huntington and Metcalf, 1979). Thus,
in view of evidence for burial a t Krapina
(Trinkaus, 1985), a reasonable alternative
hypothesis is that genuine cutmarks on the
Krapina remains may be the result of defleshing preparatory to burial of cleaned
bones.
Consideration of the Krapina striations is
hampered by several problems. First, there
is no complete description of the striations.
Smith (1976) and LeMort (1981) provided detailed anatomical descriptions of the striations observable on the cranial material, but
neither considered postcranial striations.
Ullrich (1978) provided line drawings of the
striations observed on 17 postcranial speci-
‘Earlier discussions of the Krapina cannibalism scenario often
include references to burnt hominid hone as evidence of cooking
(see esp. Tomic-KaroviC, 1970). When GorjanoviC-Kramherger reexamined the burnt specimens in the 1920s, he recognized that
many of the burnt specimens were in fact faunal hone. (J.Radovfit, pers, comm.). A few of the Krapina hominid specimens do
appear to have been scorched (LeMort, 1981, far a detailed discussion). No living author considers fire to have been a significant taphonomic agent a t Krapina.
383
MORTUARY PRACTICES IN KRAPINA NEANDERTALS
TABLE 1. Results of a microscopic examination of the surface of Krapina hominid postcranial specimens
for prehistoric incised striations which appear to be cutmarks'
N
Striations
reported
by Ullrich,
'78
N
%
Vertebrae
Claviculae
64
17
0
15
0
88
0
8
48
Scapulae
19
13
68
9
47
Humeri
24
12
50
11
46
Ulnae
Radii
0 s coxae
Femora
10
12
13
9
3
1
9
6
30
8
69
67
2
0
2
6
20
0
15
67
Patellae
Tibiae
Fibulae
15
10
14
13
9
12
87
90
86
4
2
7
27
20
50
Unidentified
shaft frag.
15
4
27
Skeletal
element
With
prehistoric
striations
N
Specimens with prehistoric
striations
%
~
0
142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 150,
155,158
121, 123, 125, 128. 130. 131.
132.136.139
,---,
1641165, 169, 171,172,173,
174, 175 176, "257.25.
"257.29/30
187,188
~~~
207,211
214, "257.2, *257.9, "257.21,
"257.23, "257.24
215.1, 215.2, 215.3, 216.1
"257.16, "257.27
"227, "228, 229, 230, "232,
*233.234
*257.4, "257.6, "257.12,
*257.14
'For comparison, Ullrich's (1978) reported frequencies are provided.
*Indicates exact anatomical position of fragment is unknown; striations on these specimens are not illustrated in the
figures
mens but did not document his claim that
102 other postcranial specimens bear cutmarks.
Secondly, as noted above, no attempt has
been made to distinguish genuine cutmarks
from grossly similar linear striations made
by nonhuman taphonomic agents.
Thirdly, the plausibility of the Krapina
striations as defleshing marks has been asserted (Ullrich, 1978) and denied (Trinkaus,
1985),but it has never been tested by comparing the Krapina striations to the cutmarks that occur on butchered fauna or on
human bones known to have been defleshed
with stone tools.
The purposes of this paper are to provide
a n inventory of the prehistoric incised linear
striations on the Krapina postcrania and to
report the results of tests of hypotheses regarding the significance of those striations.
The first hypothesis is that the Krapina
striations are butchery marks made by cannibals who treated the hominid corpses like
other meat-bearing species. The rival hypothesis is that the Krapina striations are
defleshing marks made by hominids, preparatory to burial of cleaned bones. To test these
hypotheses, the anatomical location, gross
appearance, and frequency of prehistoric lin-
TABLE 2. Skeletons from the F l l ossuary at the
Juntunen, Michigan Late Woodland site used
in this analysis (n = 22)
Burial
No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
9
10
11
13
13a
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
26127
28
31
UMMA
No.
41239
41240
41241
41242
41243
41244
41245
41246
41247
41248
41250
41250a
41251
41252
41253
41254
41255
41256
41257
41262
41263
41266
Sex
M
F
-
Age
Young adult
Adult
Adult
Adult
Young adult
Old adult
Young adult
3-5 Years
3-5 Years
Inf
Adult
Inf/fetus
Young Adult
Inf
Inf
6-8 years
3-5 years
Old adult
4-5 years
Adult
Adult
Infifetus
Burial No., field No. of individual skeleton UMMA, University
of Michigan Museum of Anthropology acquisition No. Sex and
age assigned by Wilkinson, 1971.
384
M.D. RUSSELL
ear striations on the Krapina hominid remains were compared to published reports
describing cutmarks on large game animals
from the Mousterian site of Combe Grenal
and to cutmarks on defleshed human skeletons from a Late Woodland secondary burial
ossuary a t Juntunen, Michigan. The null hypothesis for both experimental hypotheses is
that the Krapina striations are meaningless,
random sedimentary scratches accumulated
by the bones since deposition.
INVENTORY OF THE PREHISTORIC STRIATIONS
ON THE KRAPINA NEANDERTAL POSTCRANIA
Materials and methods
The surfaces of all hominid postcranial
specimens recovered from the Krapina site
were examined under magnification for the
presence of incised linear striations. These
hominid bones are estimated to have spent
from 50,000 to 100,000years in a Pleistocene
rock shelter characterized by sandstone and
TABLE 3. Fifty-two Krapina hominid specimens preserving
anatomical regions most likely to bear euidence of butchery if hominid
corpses were disjointed as reindeer carcasses were during the
Mousterian
Category
Specimen numbers
209/212,
207,208
0 s coxae preserving all or
most of acetabular rim
(n = 3)
0 s coxae preserving portion
of acetabulum (n = 4)
Femora ureservinn
- head
(n = 2)
Scapulae preserving all or
most of glenoid fossa
(n = 11)
Scapula preserving portion
of glenoid fossa (n = 1)
Humeri preserving distal
articulation and joint
capsule region (n = 14)
Ulnae preserving olecranon
process (n = 2)
Ulnae preserving coronoid
process (n = 71
Radii preserving all or most
of capitulum (n = 8)
Radius preserving portion of
capitulum (n = 1)
255.1,255.2,
255.4,255.7
213,214
21,123,125,126,127,129,
130,131,132,133,139
34
59,160,161,162,164,165,
166,169,170,171,172,175,
176.178
181,is3
179,180,181,182,183,184,
185
189,190,191,192,193,194,
196,197
195
TABLE 4. A comparison of the frequency ofprehistoric linear striations on the Krapina hominid postcrania to the
frequency of cutmarks found on the Juntunen skeletons and on the Combe Grenal reindeer
Krapina
Juntunen
Anatomical
part
N
Ns
N
Calviculae
Scapulae
Humeri
Ulnae
Radii
Radio-ulnae
0 s Coxae
Femora
Tibiae
Fibulae
Total
17
19
24
10
12
13
9
10
14
128
8
Ncm
Combe
Grenal
N
Ncm
x2 Krapina
x2 Juntunen
vs.
Juntunen
vs. Combe
Grenal
vs. Combe
Grenal
0.6846
0.0049
4.7414"
7.2805*
-
25
34
37
38
36
15
15
13
14
11
-
-
-
-
O.OO1l'
37
44
35
24
310
11
16
7
2
104
4
3
-
2
6
2
7
48
64
7
41
59
1.0289
1
0
0
241
20
4.7037"
0.6243
0.6743
0.6593'
20.2324"
6.0851'"
4.9542*
6.2168"
15.5174*
0.5039
15.2661*
12.7982"
47.0984
49.3356
9
11
2
0
44
26
-
9
3
0.7005
1.0059
4.7568"
Ns, number with striations; Ncm, number with cutmarks
*p < -05 or less; ",
corrected for small cell size.
c2
x2 Krapina
-
MORTUARY PRACTICES IN KRAPINA NEANDERTALS
conglomerate rocks (Gorjanovik-Kramberger,
1906; Guenther, 1959; Malez, 1970a,b,c).The
site was exploited in historic times as a
source of building materials piror to excavation early in the century (Barik, 1978; Russell, this volume). Dynamite, picks and
shovels were used during excavation and account for a significant amount of damage to
the Neandertal remains. Nearly all the Krapina material was perserved with shellac.
Toolmarks can be most reliably distinguished from grossly similar marks produced
by nonhuman agents by inspecting high resolution polymer casts of the striations’ microscopic morphology under a scanning electron
microscope (Potts and Shipman, 1981; Shipman, 1981a,b; Shipman and Rose, 1983).
However, the production of bone surface casts
for SEM analysis requires a scrupulously
clean surface, free of all preservatives, dirt,
and contaminants (Rose, 1983). Attempts by
the author and J. RadovEiC to remove the 80year-old shellac on the Krapina material
failed, and thus SEM inspection of the material was precluded.
Since shellac preservation of the Krapina
bones made SEM analysis of the striations
on the material impossible, light microscopy
was used to inspect all bone surfaces. During
this study, light microscopy at x 10 to x 40
magnification was found adequate for distinguishing incised linear striations from brush
marks in shellac, vascular grooves, and some
forms of vertebrate gnaw marks (conical pitting or gashes leading from such pits).
Light microscopy was also useful for distinguishing between prehistoric linear striations and recent scratches that probably
385
occurred during quarrying a t the turn of the
century and during excavation (Russell, this
volume). Striations on the Krapina hominid
material were considered to be prehistoric if
they contained embedded matrix visible under magnification andlor if they had aged to
the same color and condition as the surrounding bone surface. A striation was
judged to be recent if it cut through matrix
and/or if the incision cut through a n old and
darkened surface into clean, light-colored
bone.
Reliability of observations was checked by
repeating the microscopic inspection of the
collection after a 1-month interval. During
the second inspection, three specimens were
added to the tally of specimens with prehistoric striations and two removed. Observations were consistent for all other specimens.
The results reported below are based on the
second tally.
During microscopic inspection of the material, the anatomical location, orientation, and
length of all prehistoric incised linear striations were mapped onto line drawings of each
skeletal element. These striation maps were
later used in comparisons of the Krapina
striations to reported butchery marks on the
Combe Grenal faunal sample and to defleshing marks on the Juntunen human sample
as will be discussed below.
Results
Table 1 summarizes the results of the microscopic inspection of the surface of Krapina
hominid postcrania for prehistoric incised
linear striations. For comparison, “cutmark”
tallies published by Ullrich (1978) are also
Fig. 1. Composite drawing of marked claviculae from Krapina and Juntunen. In this figure
and all others, hold lines with adjacent numbers represent Krapina striations and specimen
numbers; fine lines represent Juntunen cutmarks (asterisk indicates SEM confirmed cutmark).
Note that individual Krapina specimens often bear striations in more than one region of the
hone; individual Juntunen specimens also bear cutmarks in several locations.
386
M.D. RUSSELL
provided in Table 1. Fifty-six specimens had
incised striations meeting the criteria used
to distinguish prehistoric from recent
scratches and from other grossly similar surface morphology (blood vessel tracks, etc.).
No striations showed any gross or microscopic signs of healing; all striations on the
specimens listed in Table 1 may be considered post-mortem.
Discussion
The frequency of prehistoric linear striations found by the author after microscopic
inspection of the Krapina postcrania differs
from similar frequencies reported by Ullrich
(1978) after a naked-eye inspection of the
gross appearance of the same material. There
are significant differences in the frequency
with which striations were found on claviculae (x2 = 6.5850, p < .02), 0s coxae (x 2 =
7.7212, p < .Ol), patellae (x 2 = 8.6878, corrected for small cell size (Blalock, 1972),p <
.01) > and tibiae (x 2 = 9.6182, corrected for
small cell size, p < .01). There is, however,
close agreement on the frequency with which
vertebrae, scapulae, humeri, ulnae, radii, and
femora are marked. The difference in the
number of marked fibulae found is not significant if x 2 is corrected for small cell size. For
all comparisons, Ullrich’s estimates of the
number of specimens bearing cutmarks are
higher than the number of bones found to
bear prehistoric striations during microscopic examination.
It is difficult to make detailed, specimenby-specimen comparisons of this assessment
and Ullrich’s (1978) because he provided neither a complete inventory nor explicit criteria for identifying cutmarks. However, in
some cases, clear differences in interpretation of individual specimens can be identified. For example, Humerus 159, Radius 189,
and Tibia 217 were seen by Ullrich a s bearing extensive evidence of hominid butchery
activities. Humerus 159 is marked by a large
number of conical pits and short gashes leading from such pits but has no linear striations meeting the criteria used here. Both
Radius 189 and Tibia 217 are diaphyseal
splinters having the scalloped edges, conical
pitting and short transverse gashes characteristically produced by carnivores gnawing
on long bone shafts (Hill, 1976,1980; Binford,
1978,1981). I consider these three specimens
likely to have been damaged by nonhuman
vertebrates. Similarly, Patellae 216.2, 216.3,
216.4, and 216.7 appear to bear conical tooth
marks rather than striations that might be
cutmarks.
Other differences in interpretation can
probably be attributed to the use of magnification to test naked-eye assessments of surface damage. For example, Ullrich stated
that 12 of the 14 fibulae bear cutmarks. However, the Krapina fibulae have a large number of short transverse vascular grooves
which grossly resemble scratches but which
are obviously vascular when examined under magnification. Taking this into consideration reduces the number of marked fibulae
to seven.
In summary, the frequency of genuine prehistoric striations on the Krapina postcrania
is lower than a previously published estimate (Ullrich. 1978) based on gross examination of the material. My independent assessment agrees closely with Ullrich’s on the
frequency of prehistoric striations on six of
ten skeletal elements. Significant differences
in judgments regarding the number of specimens bearing striations in the other four
skeletal element groups are probably due to
differences in method, resulting in a more
conservative tally in this study. In addition,
animal damage, which has not taken into
consideration by Ullrich (1978), appears to
account for a small portion of the surface
damage in the Krapina hominid collection.
TESTS O F HYPOTHESES REGARDING THE
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE KRAPINA STRIATIONS
Three hypotheses regarding the significance of the prehistoric linear striations on
the Krapina hominid material were tested.
The butchery hypothesis states that the
striations on the Krapina hominid postcrania are butchery marks made by cannibals who treated the hominid corpses like
other meat-bearing species (Ullrich, 1978).
The secondary burial hypothesis states that
the Krapina striations are defleshing marks
made by hominids preparing to bury the
cleaned bones. The null hypothesis is that
the striations are meaningless sedimentary
scratches.
During butchery, the goal of the activity is
removal of meat. The tool-user presumably
tries to remove as much meat as possible but
a t the same time tries to avoid nicking or
slashing the underlying bone, which would
dull the blade during the butchery process.
In preparing skeletons for secondary burial,
the goal of the activity is a thoroughly
cleaned bone. If the tool-user takes care to
remove all remnants of soft tissue from the
bone, the likelihood of leaving cutmarks
probably increases, especially for bones with
complex shapes like the scapula.
MORTUARY PRACTICES IN KRAPINA NEANDERTALS
To test these hypotheses, prehistoric striations on the Krapina hominid postcrania,
Mousterian butchery marks on large game
animals from Combe Grenal and cutmarks
on modern human skeletons from a secondary burial ossuary a t Juntunen, Michigan
were compared. The following predictions
were made.
1) It was predicted that bones cleaned for
secondary burial would bear significantly
387
more cutmarks than bones butchered for
meat. That is, the Juntunen skeletons were
expected to bear more cutmarks than the
Combe Grenal bones.
2) It was predicted that if the Krapina hominids were cleaned for secondary burial, the
frequency of striations would be similar to
the frequency of cutmarks on the Juntunen
bones and high compared to the Combe
Grenal sample. Conversely, if the Krapina
Fig. 2. Composite drawing of marked scapulae from Krapina and Juntunen. Large drawings:
Krapina; small drawings: Juntunen. As with the claviculae, individual scapulae often bear
multiple striations. The Krapina and Juntunen specimens resemble the Combe Grenal scapulae
in having concentrations of striations near the glenoid regions, but at Combe Grenal, the joint
capsule is ringed with cuts.
388
M.D. RUSSELL
bones were defleshed for meat, the frequency
of the striations would be similar to that of
the cutmarks on the Combe Grenal bones
and low compared to the Juntunen sample.
3) If the Krapina remains were treated as
the Juntunen skeletons were, it was expected that the gross appearance, anatomical
location and orientation of the Krapina striations would resemble those on the Juntunen
sample. Conversely, if the Krapina hominids
were butchered for meat, the locations and
gross appearance of the striations would resemble cutmarks on the Combe Grenal sample in regions of comparable anatomy.
4)The null hypothesis would be supported
if the frequency, gross appearance, and anatomical location of the Krapina striations did
not resemble cutmarks on either butchered
game animals or defleshed human skeletons
and if no consistent pattern of striation placement or appearance were detected in any
bone class.
Materials and methods
Krapina: The microscopic inspection, identification and anatomical mapping of prehistoric incised linear striations on the Krapina
postcrania are described above.
Juntunen: The surfaces of 310 bones from
22 human skeletons recovered from a Late
Woodland ossuary a t Juntunen, Michigan
were examined for this research (Table 2).
The Juntunen site is located at the west end
of Bois Blanc Island in the Mackinac straits
(McPherron, 1967a,b). The Juntunen F11 ossuary from which these skeletons were recovered dates to 1320 A.D. 75 years (Crane
and Griffin, 1963), just prior to the historic
period.
Juntunen has been interpreted as a seasonal lake shore fishery site used during the
spring and fall (Cleland, 1966, 1982; Fitting,
1970; McPherron, 1967a,b). In the historical
period immediately following occupation of
*
172
172
172
172
171
/
Fig. 3. Composite drawing of marked humeri from Krapina and Juntunen. Some Juntunen
marks are drawn separately on far right, for clarity. Note series of short, transverse striations
running along shafts (Krapina 164, 172).Similar series of striations were confirmed under SEM
as cutmarks on a Juntunen ulna (see Fig. 4).
MORTUARY PRACTICES IN KRAPINA NEANDERTALS
the Juntunen site, ethnographic studies state
that several Amerind families would come
together seasonally to fish at semipermanent
shore sites like Juntunen, disbanding in winter to hunt in the inland forests (Cleland,
1966; McPherron, 1967aP. Ossuaries were
established at the fishing sites. There is evidence that individuals who died away from
the Juntunen site were brought back for 0ssuary burial (Clark, n.d.1.
Three sources of data suggested that the 22
Juntunen skeletons were prepared for secondary burial (Hewitt, 1895; Hultkrantz,
1953; Kidd, 1953; Hickerson, 1960; Tooker,
1964; Fitting, 1965; 1970; Flanders and Griffin, 1970; Cleland, 1971 Krakker, 1983;
Clark, n.d.): 1)archeological analyses of the
skeletal material from Juntunen; 2) the mortuary practices investigated a t other Late
Woodland sites; and 3) historical observations of the mortuary practices of the population living in the region immediately after
the Juntunen occupation.
The secondary burial process described is
as follows (Clark, n.d.1. Corpses were allowed
to decompose underground for varying
389
amounts of time. When enough deaths had
occurred within a social group to make a
secondary burial ceremony desirable, the accumulated remains were disinterred and any
remaining soft tissue carefully removed from
the bones with stone knives. Since length of
decomposition time varied for each corpse,
some skeletons were already clean, others
retained varying amounts of partially rotted
soft tissue, and still others may have been
nearly fully fleshed. At Juntunen, the F11
ossuary pit was dug in sand and lined with
bark. Cleaned and diarticulated skeletons
were either bundled in bark or skin bags or
were rearticulated in a n extended configuration in bark wrappings. The wrapped bones
of many individuals were laid in close proximity in the pit and were then covered with
sand, creating a burial mound.
'Genetic ties between individuals buried at Juntunen are illustrated by the presence of an unusual dental anomaly shared
by two individuals in ossuaries F8 and F11 (C.L. Brace, pers.
comm.) For comparison, the Krapina hominid collection contains three individuals who share a genetic trait indicating close
kinship (Smith, 1976).
Fig. 4. Composite drawing of marked distal forelimb bones from Krapina and Juntunen.
Note series of short transverse Juntunen cutmarks, confirmed as such with SEM inspection, on
the shafts. Similar series of striations were observed on Karpina humeri, ulnae, and fibulae,
390
M.D. RUSSELL
Fig. 5. Composite drawings of marked 0s coxae from Krapina and Juntunen. The sciatic
notch is often nicked at both sites. Typically, the acetabula of Combe Grenal reindeer were
ringed with cuts. Neither human sample shows any striations ringing the acetabulae, although
that anatomical region was well preserved at both sites.
MORTUARY PRACTICES IN KRAPINA NEANDERTALS
For the Juntunen specimens, gross inspection of linear striations was carried out under strong light. The anatomical location,
length, and orientation of each incised linear
striation on the Juntunen bones were
mapped onto line drawings of each bone element for comparison to the striations found
on the Krapina and Combe Grenal postcrania. Striation frequency for each skeletal
element was calculated for statistical comparisons to the other samples.
A sample of striations from each Juntunen
skeletal element was cast for independent
assessment as cutmarks based on SEM inspection by P. Shipman (Johns Hopkins University). All the cast striations were
confirmed as showing the microscopic morphology of cutmarks made with stone tools
(P. Shipman, pers. comm.). These results,
combined with the ethnological and archeological evidence cited above, strongly suggest
that the striations on the Juntunen skeletons
are genuine cutmarks and they are referred
to as such hereinafter.
Combe Grenal: The Juntunen cutmarks
and the Krapina striations were compared to
published descriptions of Mousterian butchery marks found on large game animals from
the Combe Grenal rock shelter near Sarlat,
Dordogne, France (Bordes and Prat, 1965;
Bordes, 1972). Mousterian tools and fragmentary Neandertal remains were associated with the fauna (Oakley et al., 1971).
Reindeer (Ranifer tarandus) remains were
chosen as the comparison sample for this research because they were sufficiently numerous to allow meaningful statistical analysis
of cutmark frequencies.
Mousterian butchery marks on this faunal
collection are described as having rather
open, V-shaped cross-sections and as occurring in groups of short parallel marks (Binford, 1981:105; Martin, 1907-1910, Figs.
XLIV, XLVII, XLVIII, L; 1909). Cutmarks on
postcrania commonly appear on elements of
three joints: hip, shoulder, and elbow (Binford, 1981:101, also Figs. 4.22, 4.29, 4.31,
4.32). Innominates typically bear encircling
cuts around the acetabular lip where the iliofemoral and ishiofemoral ligaments were
severed. On scapulae, cutmarks encircle the
glenoid fossa where the glenohumeral joint
capsule was cut apart. Distal humeri bear
transverse cutmarks low on the posterior face
of the distal ends, just above the articular
surface. Radio-ulnae show marks on the lateral surface of the olecranon process where
the collateral ligaments were severed. Also,
391
the radio-ulnar coronoid process is often
marked with transverse cuts.
In comparing the gross appearance, anatomical locations, and orientations of the
Krapina prehistoric striations to the Combe
Grenal reindeer butchery marks, particular
attention was given to the joint elements
most likely to bear evidence of butchery, assuming that the corpses were disjointed as
animal carcasses were in the Mousterian
(Binford, 1981; Martin, 1907-1910; 1909).Table 3 lists 52 Krapina hominid specimens
from the hip, shoulder, and elbow joints, the
anatomical regions most likely to bear cutmarks if the corpses were treated in a manner similar to that used to reduce carcasses
to manageable size for meat-consumption a t
Combe Grenal.
The frequency of cutmarks on the postcrania from the three sampIes were compared on a bone by bone basis using chisquared tests adjusted for small cell sizes
(Blalock, 19'72) when necessary. Because of
differences in distal limb anatomy, striation
frequencies for the radii and ulnae at Krapina and Juntunen were combined to make
them comparable to the frequencies for the
fused radial and ulnar bones of reindeer.
Results
Table 4 presents the results of chi-squared
tests comparing the frequencies of linear
striations on the Krapina, Juntunen, and
Combe Grenal samples.
As predicted, the Juntunen bones, which
were cleaned for secondary burial, bore significantly more cutmarks than did the reindeer bones which were defleshed for meat.
Highly significant differences in the frequency of cutmarks were found on all comparable skeletal elements, with the single
exception of 0s coxae. These results fulfill the
expectation that cutmark frequency is relatively high when a cleaned bone is the goal
of the defleshing and low when meat removal
is the goal of the activity.
It was predicted that if the Krapina hominids were cleaned for secondary burial, the
frequency of striations would be similar to
the frequency of cutmarks on the Juntunen
bones and high compared to the Combe
Grenal sample. Conversely, if the Krapina
bones were defleshed for meat, the frequency
of the striations would be similar to that of
the cutmarks on the Combe Grenal bones
and low compared to the Juntunen cutmarks.
There were no significant differences between the Krapina and Juntunen samples in
392
M.D. RUSSELL
215.2
Fig. 6 . Composite drawing of marked femora from Krapina and Juntunen; below, right:
composite drawing of patellae from Krapina. No patellae were included in the Juntunen F11
ossuary collection. Note that the femoral necks are typically ringed with multiple cuts. Krapina
Femur 214 has two depressed gashes on the inferoposterior region of the head; similar gashes
were observed on a Juntunen specimen, suggesting that the gashes were made during processing of the corpses.
the number of marked claviculae, scapulae,
humeri, ulnae, 0s coxae, femora, or fibulae.
Compared to the Juntunen sample, the Krapina ulnae were less likely to bear striations,
while the fibulae were more likely to bear
striations. Thus, for seven of nine skeletal
elements, the Krapina and Juntunen samples have the same distribution of marked
and unmarked bones.
Compared to the Combe Grenal sample,
the Krapina scapulae, humeri, femora, and
tibiae were significantly more likely to bear
cutmarks than homologous skeletal elements from the Combe Grenal reindeer sample. As in the comparison of Juntunen with
Combe Grenal, no significant difference was
found in the frequency of marked 0s coxae.
Neither did the frequency of marked distal
forelimb bones from Krapina and Combe
Grenal differ.
In general, these statistical results indicate
that the Krapina striations differ significantly from the butchery marks on the
Combe Grenal reindeer remains and closely
resemble the Juntunen sample in the manner predicted by the secondary burial
hypothesis.
The Krapina striations’ gross appearance
also resembled the Juntunen cutmarks and
differed from the Combe Grenal butchery
marks. The Krapina striations and the Juntunen cutmarks are fine, delicate, shallow
incisions, in contrast to the coarser, V-shaped
Combe Grenal butchery marks which appear
to bite deeply into the bone surface (Binford,
1981; Martin, 1907-1910).
Neither the Krapina striations nor the
Juntunen cutmarks resemble the Combe
Grenal butchery marks in orientation and
anatomical placement. None of the diagnostic butchery marks observed in the Combe
Grenal sample are present a t Krapina or
Juntunen. Specifically, none of the Krapina
innominates bear encircling cuts around the
acetabular lip. The scapulae bear no cutmarks circling the glenoid fossa. None of the
distal humeri bear transverse cutmarks on
the posterior face above the articular con-
MORTUARY PRACTICES IN KRAPINA NEANDERTALS
c
393
/
I
\
I'
I
Fig. 7. Composite drawing of marked tibiae from Juntunen and marked fibulae from Krapina. Significant differences in marked distal hindlimb bones suggests differences in defleshing
techniques at the two sites. It should be pointed out that striations were observed on tibia1
shaft fragments at Krapina, but those striations could not be mapped because their exact
anatomical locations were unknown.
dyles or low on the sides of the condyles.
Neither of the ulnae that preserve olecranon
processes bear longitudinal cutmarks on the
process nor are there any transverse cuts
along the anterior lip of the preserved coronoid processes. Thus, the predictions arising
from the butchery hypothesis remained unfulfilled on the 52 Krapina specimens most
likely to support the hypothesis.
Anatomical differences between bipeds and
quadrupeds may account for some of these
differences. For example, the distal hindlimbs of cursorial animals, such as reindeer,
bear relatively little meat compared to humans, which may account for the absence of
cutmarks on the reindeer tibiae. However,
both species have major muscle masses associated with hips and shoulders and yet there
are highly significant differences in striation
frequency when those joints are compared.
In contrast, Figures 1-7 show that the
striations on the Krapina bones are often
matched quite closely in location and orientation by striations on the Juntunen skeletons. Furthermore, while the Krapina
striations could not be subjected directly to
SEM inspection, Juntunen striations in identical anatomical locations and orientations
were so examined and were confirmed a s authentic cutmarks (P. Shipman, pers. comm.;
Juntunen striations cast for SEM inspection
are identified with a n asterisk in Figs. 1-7).
These comparisons strengthen the interpretation of the Krapina striations as cutmarks
and support the hypothesis that the Krapina
remains were treated in a manner similar to
that used at Juntunen.
In general, it can be said that cutmarks on
the Juntunen skeletons and striations on the
Krapina remains tend to occur where there
394
M.D. RUSSELL
is a change in contour or a bony projection
that interrupted the movement of a blade as
the bone was cleaned. Claviculae, scapulae
and femora are the most frequently marked
bone elements in both collections. In both
samples, individual claviculae are often
nicked or sliced on several surfaces, presumably because it is difficult to clean soft tissue
from the curve of the shoulder without hitting that bone. As expected, the complexly
shaped scapula frequently bears multiple
cutmarks as well: near the glenoid fossa, on
the blade, and often along the spine which
projects abruptly toward the surface. The
femoral neck typically bears a series of cuts
ringing the neck. Cutmarks on long bone
shafts often nick osseous crests between muscle groups. Another shared characteristic is
that both the Krapina and Juntunen bones
have striations that occur in repetitive ladder-rung series of short marks. These may be
associated with efforts to clean dried tissue
clinging to regions of muscle attachment.
CONCLUSIONS
The gross appearance, anatomical location,
and orientation of prehistoric incised linear
striations on the Krapina remains are closely
matched by confirmed cutmarks found on a
human skeletal population defleshed preparatory to secondary burial. This comparison
disproves the null hypothesis that the prehistoric Krapina striations identified by the author are random sedimentary scratches.
The similarities in the gross appearance,
anatomical locations, and orientations of the
Juntunen cutmarks and the Krapina striations are backed up by statistical comparisons of striation frequencies: it is statistically
justified to discuss the Juntunen cutmarks
and the Krapina striations as though they
were two samples drawn from a single
population.
Furthermore, both human samples differ
from the Combe Grenal reindeer sample in
the ways predicted by the secondary burial
hypothesis. Cutmarks on the Juntunen skeletons and striations on the Krapina hominid
remains occur far more frequently than cutmarks on butchered fauna. In the case of
Juntunen, this is a predicted consequence of
the secondary burial hypothesis: when the
obiect of the activitv was a cleaned bone.
rAher than meat, skeletal elements were ex:
pected to bear a relatively large number of
cutmarks compared to skeletons defleshed for
meat. Since the Krapina sample is very sim-
ilar to the Juntunen sample in frequency,
location, and orientation of striations on
marked bones, it follows that the object of
defleshing the hominid corpses at Krapina
was also likely to have been cleaned bones
rather than meat.
The results of all the comparisons carried
out for this research tend to support the hypothesis that the Krapina hominid remains
were defleshed in preparation for secondary
burial. These results are consistent with previously published evidence of burial at Krapina (Trinkaus, 1985). For example, an
unusually large number of relatively fragile
skeletal elements such as scapulae and juvenile claviculae are preserved at Krapina,
suggesting that these bones were buried
rather than left on the cave floor surface
(Trinkaus, 1985).Scapulae and claviculae are
also the skeletal elements most likely to bear
the striations which are interpreted here as
cutmarks made when the bones were cleaned
for burial. Thus, two lines of evidence support the claim that the Krapina Neandertal
remains “represent one of the oldest, as well
as the largest samples of human burials yet
known” (Trinkaus, 1985:213). Furthermore,
it seems likely that Krapina Neandertals can
be numbered among the many human societies whose mortuary practices include secondary burial of cleaned bones.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This research was supported by a grant
from the International Research and Exchanges Board, New York, and by the Savezni Zavod za Medjunarodnu NauEnu,
Prosvetno-Kulturnu i TekniEku Saradju
(Federal Administration for International
Scientific, Educational, Cultural and Technical Cooperation), Beograd. My thanks go
to the staff of the Geloski-Paleontol6ski Muzej or Zagreb, Yugoslavia for their friendship, cooperation, and assistance during the
4 months that I studied the Krapina collection. In particular, I thank J. RadovEiC, curator of the Krapina collection, and GorjanoviCKramberger, scholar. This project could not
have been carried out without Dr. RadovEiC’s
permission, cooperation, and participation.
Conversations with J. Clark a t the University of Michigan regarding the recognition of
siens of secondarv burial were crucial to the
coiclusions of t h k research. My thanks also
go to J. O’Shea and C.L. Brace of the Univeriity of Michigan Museum of Anthropology
MORTUARY PRACTICES INI KRAPINA NEANDERTALS
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