Human Burial Practices in Gua Kidang, Blora, Central Java

Delta Bayu Murti1, Indah Asikin Nurani2, Toetik Koesbardiati1

1Department of Anthropology/Ethnographic Museum and Center for Death Studies, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Airlangga, Indonesia

2Research Center for Prehistoric and Historic Archaeology, Research Organization for Archaeology, Language, and Letters, National Research and Innovation Agency, Indonesia

Research in Gua Kidang, Blora, Central Java has been ongoing for 12 years. During this period, the remains of three human skeletons have been recovered. The skeletal remains were found separately in different excavation trenches and various locations in the stratigraphic sequences, and date from 9440 ± 220 BP to 7770 ± 220 BP. This study aims to describe the burial context of the human skeletal remains in Gua Kidang, Blora, Central Java using an archaeothanatological approach. The analysis included close examination of the burial context to understand changes in the corpses from the time they died to the time they were recovered, burial treatment, and decomposition. In addition, each skeleton’s biological profile was analyzed, which included population affinity, sex, age, height, and skeletal pathology. The results of the burial context analysis indicate that the corpses were placed on the ground without a bacfilling and that their positions have not changed from the time they were placed in the ground until the time they were excavated. These results can provide additional new data regarding the pattern of human burial, especially in the early Holocene period in Indonesia.