Saturday, September 24, 2005

Article: Ethnoarchaeology in Indonesia Illuminating the Ancient Past at Catalhoyuk?

Adams, RL, "Ethnoarchaeology in Indonesia Illuminating the Ancient Past at Catalhoyuk?". American Antiquity, 2005 , vol. 70, no. 1, pp. 181-188

Kathleen Kenyon compared the Near Eastern plastered skulls to similar practices in New Guinea.

Adams in the above article uses the culture found in Tana Toraja and in West Sumba to explain the Neolithic culture of Catalhoyuk.

The author notes nine major points of correspondence:

  • elaborate household decoration
  • similarities in internal division of space
  • burials associated with prominent households
  • house dedication feasts/rituals
  • house-based descent groups/"house societies"
  • rebuilding
  • ancestral cults
  • feasts with pigs and cattle
  • use of bucrania

    Some particular notes of interest is the common building of houses for the exclusive purpose of storing ancestral heirlooms and skulls.

    Each culture practiced burial followed by removal of the skull after natural defleshing (leaving a headless body).

    Also, the continued rebuilding of the ancestral houses rather than replacement, something also found at the pile-mounted Shinto temples in Japan.

    Bucrania and boar mandibles were found at the "more elaborate houses at Catalhoyuk." Adams sees this as one of the most significant similarities as such practice is also found in Tana Toraja and West Sumba.

    Pigs and cattle/water buffalo may have been sacrificed at "prestige consecration feasts following house construction" according to Adams just as in the Indonesian cultures he studied.

    Paul Kekai Manansala