The Symbolic Meaning of Ritual Burials


New York University. “Neanderthals buried their dead, new research of remains concludes.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2013.

The photograph above, is a Neanderthal, some archaeologists think it was purposefully buried. This find started a major debate: “their conclusions have sparked controversy in the scientific community ever since, with skeptics maintaining that the discovery had been misinterpreted and that the burial may not have been intentional” (New York University). This find is extremely important because if the Neanderthals did purposefully bury their dead, it can give us a time frame of (when burying the dead) first started. Burying the dead has significant symbolic meaning; which is why it is important to know if the Neanderthals practiced this cultural custom. “While we cannot know if this practice was part of a ritual or merely pragmatic, the discovery reduces the behavioral distance between them and us” (New York University).


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