The basic techniques of excavations of burial grounds

Excavations of burial grounds and settlements is the most critical part of the procedure of field research in archaeology. Intelligence give information of different levels, which you can then repeatedly to check and add to it. The procedure of laboratory studies of a kind and also dependent on the improvement of the methods used. Excavations unique.

How carefully and professionally executed excavations of the monument, he was, nevertheless, destroyed. After excavation, he ceases to exist completely or in part as a monument of archeology, becomes the amount of scientific materials and information. Therefore, to unearth the monuments should only specialists with appropriate training and permission for the excavations (open sheet).

The organization conducting the excavation, the excavation Director must take care of the participation in the expedition of the necessary specialists. The excavation is supervised by the specialist archaeologist. The detachment must have assistants, laboratory technicians, skilled Photographer, draftsman, restorer, an anthropologist and other specialists, depending on the objectives of the field research.

The main tasks of the study of burial grounds

The study of ancient graves in the world and Russian science has a long history. Their excavations have presented the science with enormous archaeological, anthropological and other material. However, the peculiarity of this kind of monuments is that laid buried with only those items that are necessary for the burial ceremony.Thus, in the allocation of archaeological culture cannot be based only on data obtained from graves, as was done previously. However, it is incorrect to make General conclusions about archaeological culture only on some materials of settlements. The materials of these monuments should be subjected to an overall analysis. This allows us to achieve the necessary completeness of the data for reconstructing archaeological cultures.

Ancient tomb should be viewed holistically, not limited to the storage material. Important: the device, conducted the burial ceremony, the arrangement of things and their set.

The study of funerary complexes should include examination of the device burial facilities, burial sites, obtaining information about the process of burial, ceremony and buried with actions, accompanying the inventory, its location.

When you begin digging, you need to consider which type of funeral facilities will be explored. Depending on this, you should select appropriate techniques of research.

The equipment of the place of burial . The most common structure is dug into the ground (in the mainland) of the burial pit, different shape: square, oval, without additional structures or blockhouse, built of logs or stone walls, lined and covered with wood or stone. In special group it is possible to allocate complex on the device of a burial chamber, known, for example, Scythians, Sakas, in the Altai mountains. They were arranged in the form of a large wooden frame with extra space for inventory, the burial of horses. These cameras were specially equipped guard the entrance.

However there are other devices funeral: funeral urns, and ossuaries – special vessels made of ceramic or stone, which formed the remains of the deceased. Ballot boxes were stored in the vaults of clay or brick.

Archaeologists often have to deal with your burial site on the surface buried beneath the fill of mound soil or in the embankment of the mound. The place of burial in this case can be equipped with a wooden frame, lined with stone slabs or turf. Construction of the turf is particularly hard to detect.

Fig. 87. The burial ground the grave pits:

1 – crouched burial of the bronze age in the burial pit with wood cover; 2 – a specially made burial in the catacomb

To a later time, usually for the period of addition of the early States, include the burial in sarcophagi of wood, stone, terracotta, in coffins. Simple and sophisticated, decorated, they had a social role, as, indeed, the whole structure of ground burial structures. Studying them, we must bear in mind that these architectural and archaeological monuments, with its traditional structure, reflect the worldview that created them people associated with ideas about life, death, the structure of the universe. Such, for example, the Royal burial mounds of the Scythians, Kurgan Issyk Saka mounds in the valley Pazyryk and Ukok in the Altai mountains, Kurgan Arzhan in Tuva, etc.

In archaeology there are several ways of burial . which can easily be installed during the excavation. More difficult is to determine which acts were committed with the deceased: craniotomy, removing the innards, dismemberment, etc. Archaeologist during archaeological excavations but have the opportunity to see what actions were performed before burial.

Simple burial – the placement of the body of the deceased in the ground, or coffin, of the log. Archaeology is recorded in many types of burials: elongated; crouched on the side in which the bent knees of the deceased; on the back with a different position of the hands and feet. In the course of excavations of the burials the skeleton is buried or the remains. It should be noted that the bones of hands, feet, skull could change its original position, during the decomposition of muscle tissue during compaction of fills of the burial pit of the earth. For example, if the deceased was laid on his back, legs bent and knees up, then that provision over time is not sustainable; during the excavation the archaeologist finds bones buried legs bent and lying knees to the right or left, as may be, in part, in the pose of the dance. The same changes occur with the location of the skull. When the archaeologist wrote in his diary that the buried man was laid on his back, and his head turned to the right or to the left, you can almost always say that his statement is incorrect because the skull takes place under the influence of earth’s gravity, which filled the burial pit.

1 – single in a dirt pit; 2 – lining; 3 – in a stone box; 4 – frame; 5, 6 in the burial chamber

A place where are buried a large number of people simultaneously or sequentially over a long period, known as group burial. This type of burial, for example, known in the Siberian Tagar culture of the early iron age.

Secondary burial – reburial of bones after the muscle tissue has rotted. Most of these bones were laid in a pit grave, a crypt or an urn after they were some time in another place, were buried or laid on the surface of the earth.

The main purpose of embalming the deceased to preserve the body of the dead for which the skull was trainerbase, the internal organs were taken out and replaced with embalming substances. After that, the dead were buried. In Russia, such embalmed corpses found buried in the Altai mountains and belong to the Pazyryk culture.

The rite of cremation (burning of dead body) in ancient times was widely known. Found a lot of its variants. As one can emphasize three of them: the burning of the corpse at special burial sites within the burial pit or burial vault, the burning of the dead along with the burial chamber and the burial in the tomb of piles of ashes or burnt bones in urns and special bags. The burning in this case was somewhere on the side, outside the place of burial. The custom of burning in several archaeological cultures were combined rite of preserving the appearance of the deceased by making clay and terracotta masks, sculptural heads buried (Tesinska tashlykska and culture of Hun-Sarmat epoch of the early iron age).

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If you make a career of archaeologist and it's always been quite difficult, the crisis has "killed" the profession in Europe. For the archaeologist currently are opportunities to work in…

Continue reading →