Human Burials

A total of thirty-four burials has been excavated from PPNC deposits, although two individuals are represented by crania only. The burial patterns reflect one of the strongest contrasts between PPNC and MPPNB/LPPNB ritual: the ninth millennium practice of skull removal was no longer followed in the PPNC (Figure 11). Another important aspect of PPNC burial practices concerns the relative proportions of primary and secondary buri-

Figure 10. PPNC limestonne "fertility" figurine found in what may have been a miniature, perhaps child's, reconstruction of a shrine. (Photo: Y. Zoubii)

als. Although fifteen of the burials were so badly disturbed by later Yarmukian activity that the contexts are unknown, for the remaining nineteen burials there is rough parity between primary (eleven) and secondary (eight) interments. Furthermore, except for the earliest five PPNC examples, bodies were no longer placed beneath house floors but in courtyards. Finally, many of the burial pits (particularly in the South Field) included pig bones (domesticated by this time?), although additional analysis of the Central Field burial pit contents is necessary to determine if pig bones are "offerings" to be expected in all PPNC inhumations.

The PPNC Temple or Sanctuary*

Excavations in the East Field in 1995and 1996,where PPNC domestic structures were not found, encountered a sizable (ca. 5.6m) structure that appears to have been a temple or a walled sanctuary. The structure has two

*A recent radiocarbon date from the floor of the temple is 8080 ± 60, which argues for a LPPNB age for this structure.

Figure 11. PPNC burials. These normally occur in courtyards with skulls still intact with the postcranial skeleton. (Photo: H. Wada)

primary rooms divided by a north-south wall. The western (downhill) room was badly damaged in antiquity by erosion and recently by bulldozer work.

In the center of the eastern room, which uncharacteristically has a floor made of yellow clay and not common dirt or huwwar plaster, a small, un-painted lime-plaster hearth surrounded by seven flat limestone slabs lay just west of the central cluster of three pairs of standing stones of unequal sizes (from ca. 40-70 cm) oriented on a rough N-Saxis. The standing stones supported two broad, thick limestone slabs that formed a raised altar in the middle f the eastern wall. At the center of the northern wall a small stone cubicle was built on the floor (Figure 9). The building was protected against erosional damage on the steep slope (35%) by a large retaining wall more than 20 m long (NS) and 2.5 m high that had cut through earlier LPPNB layers. At the base of the retaining wall, an exterior storage (?) chamber 1.5 m EW by 3 m NS was excavated into underlying sterile clay, and presumably the excavated material was used to floor the eastern room of the temple.

At one time there was an entrance into the eastern room via a doorway in the southern wall, but this was later blocked. Another doorway existed in the wall that separated the eastern and western rooms, and the control of movement between the two parts of the temple is particularly interesting. Leading straight west of the doorway into the western room for 60 cm was a thin "screen wall" that abruptly turned to the north, blocking any view from the western room into the eastern altar area. In effect, this thin but impenetrable wall restricted both physical and visual access to the rites being conducted in the eastern room, creating our earliest example of a "holy of holies" in ritual architecture.

The eastern wall of the LPPNB temple was relatively high (preserved to 1.8 m) for its thickness (ca. 45 cm), and this structural weakness was susceptible to either subsidence or earthquake. For whatever reason, the eastern wall partially collapsed and led to the temple's abandonment, and as the temple had "died" it was literally "buried" beneath two massive retaining walls, one of which was placed directly over the altar and the other over the exterior "storage" feature. The "burial" ofbuildings, particularly"special buildings," has been noted at Çayônû, including the Skull Building, Flagstone Building, and the plaza that contained standing stones (Ôzdogan 1995:84-87;Ôzdogan and Ôzdogan 1989:74).

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