Bioarchaeology of the Near East: volume 15 is now available online

The recent volume of Bioarchaeology of the Near East contains three regular papers and eight short fieldwork reports, with a broad range of topics. Nina Maaranen and colleagues from the ERC Hyksos Enigma project present research on dental non-metric traits at Avaris, the Hyksos capital city, compared to other samples from Egypt. Their results indicate that the people of Avaris were of different ancestry than Egyptians, supporting the hypothesis that a large-scale migration from the Levant to the eastern Nile delta occurred during the Second Intermediate Period.

In the next paper, Marcin Paszke discusses problems with the taxonomic identification of avifauna using Mesopotamian iconography. Although the birds depicted on the frieze from the temple of Ninhursag in Al-Ubaid, dated to the mid-3rd millennium BCE, seem detailed, their features represent several distinct taxa which prevents a reliable and unequivocal identification.

Next, Anton Axelson re-evaluates human remains from Karataş-Semayük, an Early Bronze Age site in Turkey, proposing a new formula to estimate male stature based on femoral and tibial lengths. This formula is especially helpful for researchers examining Near Eastern skeletons.

Among the short fieldwork reports, the first discusses plant remains from old excavations at Berikldeebi, a Bronze Age site in Georgia. The following report examines a secondary deposit of partially mummified human remains from the Theban Necropolis, Egypt, followed by another reporting on some human remains from the Islamic cemetery located at Tell Nebi Yunus, one of the mounds covering the ruins of ancient Nineveh in Iraq.

The next three reports discuss mostly secondary assemblages of human remains at three nearby archaeological sites in Lebanon dated mainly to the Roman/Byzantine period. At Chhim, apart from one late burial that destroyed the floor of a Christian basilica, there was also a mysterious assemblage of human remains (males and subadults) in the nartex of the same building. At Jiyeh and Barja, badly damaged human remains were retrieved from sarcophagi and graves cut in the bedrock.

Next a small assemblage of very well preserved skeletons from Metsamor, an Iron Age site in Armenia is discussed. Some burials were dated to the time when Urartian state collapsed, but some represent re-use of the site as a cemetery in the Roman/Parthian period. The final report is about human remains from Jezlan Dasht, a recently looted Early Iron Age cemetery in western Alborz Mountains, Iran.

This article may be reprinted free of charge, with acknowledgement of the source.

The volume is available online under the Creative Commons license.


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