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Keywords:

  • bone modification;
  • cremation;
  • early Holocene;
  • Southeast Asia

ABSTRACT

Fragments of a single human skeleton recovered from a discrete archaeological context and dating to the Early Holocene from Ille Site, Palawan, Philippines, provided a unique opportunity to utilise anthropogenic bone modifications to reconstruct the postmortem history of a body prior to its deposition. Aside from being burnt, the remains were found to exhibit a combination of cutmarks, scrape marks, and impact scars indicative of disarticulation, defleshing, and hammerstone percussion. The results clearly demonstrate a complex ritualistic treatment of the body prior to interment that, so far, has not been recorded in Southeast Asia. This thus adds to the growing data of varying burial traditions during the early Holocene across the region. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.