Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
The vast majority of individuals who died during the Umm an-Nar period (2700-2000 BCE) of the Early Bronze Age in southeastern Arabia were interred within large communal tombs; following decomposition, their skeletons became intentionally commingled with hundreds of others. Only in rare cases do archaeologists discover individuals whose bodies remained intact after death. This lecture will discuss two women from two Umm an-Nar tombs whose skeletons remained fully articulated from the sites of Shimal and Tell Abraq in what is now the United Arab Emirates.
The Shimal female was interred with a dog laid alongside her head, indicating that she may have engaged in hunting or herding activities. The Tell Abraq female was paralyzed from the waist down and likely suffered from polio, suggesting that she received care as a member of her community despite her disability and non-local status, as evaluated by isotopic analysis. Both women were set apart in meaningful ways, speaking to an identity that granted them special status in death.
Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:
Blau, S, and Beech, M. (1999). One woman and her dog: An Umm an-Nar example from the United Arab Emirates. Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, 10, 34-42.
Gregoricka, L. A. (2020). Negotiating contact in the periphery: Commingled mortuary practices and identity construction in Bronze Age Arabia. In: K.J. Knudson & C. M. Stojanowski (Eds.), Bioarchaeology and Identity Revisited (pp. 85-106). Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
Gregoricka, L.A., Ullinger, J.M., and Schrenk, A. (Under review). Set apart from within: Articulated women in commingled tombs from Early Bronze Age Arabia. Arabian Archaeology & Epigraphy.
Schrenk, A., Gregoricka, L.A., Martin, D.L., and Potts, D.T. (2016). Differential diagnosis of a progressive neuromuscular disorder using bioarchaeological and biogeochemical evidence from a Bronze Age skeleton in the UAE. International Journal of Paleopathology, 13, 1-10.