A re-appraisal of the Early Neolithic human remains excavated at Sumburgh, Shetland, in 1977
Mortuary, Human Remains
This paper presents the results of a re-analysis of the Early Neolithic human remains recovered in 1977 at Sumburgh, Shetland. The original publication of the site (Hedges & Parry 1980) proposed excarnation as the dominant mortuary rite. However, analysis of fracture morphology in combination with patination has demonstrated that the majority of damage to the bones is due to post-depositional disturbance. Evidence of palaeopathological conditions within the assemblage includes: degenerative joint disease, healed fractures, non-specific infection, periodontal disease, enamel hypoplasia and a nutritional disorder.