Funeral Instruments: The Essential Equipment for Preparing the Departed
2024/02/05

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for burial have been found at a 6,000-year-old gravesite in Finland. The artifacts provide insight into the elaborate and sophisticated rituals performed by prehistoric communities when handling the dead. Archaeologists discovered the three stone tools at two separate burial sites in in southwestern Finland.

The tools include an anvil stone, used to break bones and extract bone marrow, a scraper made of shale, used to clean the bones, and a grinder stone, used to create pigments from red ochre.

According to researchers, these tools suggest that these ancient communities had a complex understanding of the decomposition process and believed in an afterlife. The process of breaking bones and extracting bone marrow was likely seen as a way to release the person's spirit from their physical body. Additionally, the use of the grinder stone to create pigments indicates that these communities may have engaged in body painting or other forms of body decoration as part of their burial rituals.

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These findings shed light on the sophistication of prehistoric communities, challenging the common misconception that early societies were primitive and lacking in spiritual beliefs. Through the use of these mortuary tools, these ancient communities demonstrated a deep understanding of death and the significance of burial rituals in honoring and caring for the deceased.

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