Puzzling Pairs from Pavlov: Mortuary Manipulation in the Mid Upper Paleolithic
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|The archeologically rich earlier Mid Upper Paleolithic (MUP) sites of Dolní Věstonice and Pavlov, southern Moravia, have yielded three single burials and a triple one, and long series of isolated human remains. In addition, the southeastern part of the Pavlov I site has provided a pair of isolated partial hand skeletons, Pavlov 31, and recent zooarcheological analysis of the central portion of Pavlov I has provided two pairs of isolated partial pedal skeletons (Pavlov 37 and 38) plus a pair of probably associated patellae (Pavlov 34 and 35). The only other human bone from Pavlov I central is a partial metacarpal 2 (Pavlov 36). Pavlov 34/35 and 37 represent among the largest MUP individuals known, whereas Pavlov 36 and 38 are average in size; hence these bones could represent two individuals. No other human remains are known from Pavlov I central. The Pavlov 34 to 38 (plus Pavlov 31) human remains are porous and eroded, in contrast to excellent faunal osseous preservation, implying burial in articulation with soft tissue. None of them shows carnivore or cutmark damage. These combinations of isolated pairs of patellar, pedal (and palmar) human remains from Pavlov suggest a pattern of the deliberate manipulation and differential disposal of corporeal portions in the MUP. Manipulation of human bodies, other than full-body burial, has been suggested for the MUP sites of Dolní Věstonice II, Paglicci, Pataud and Sunghir. The puzzling pairs from Pavlov further elaborate these complex MUP mortuary behaviors.