Flexed Burials From Sulawesi: New Evidence of Mid Holocene Mortuary Practices in South East Asia

Fakhri1, Delta Bayu Murti2, Suryatman3, Andi Muh. Saiful3, Budianto Hakim1

1National Research And Innovation Agency, Research Organization for Archaeology, Language, and Literature, Research Center for Archaeometry, Indonesia

2University of Airlangga, Indonesia

3University of Hasanuddin, Indonesia

The aim of this study is to present new data on mid-Holocene flexed burials in Sulawesi and their relationship with traditions across Southeast Asia. Bioarchaeological analyses in this project included identification of remaining elements, estimation of individual age, estimation of height, sex, and population affiliation. It is known that the tradition of burying individuals in a flexed position emerged during the mid-Holocene and is common during this period throughout the islands of Sunda and Sahul. Excavations at Cappa Lombo, Sulawesi, in 2017 produced evidence for seven individual human skeletons dating to 7,500 BP, demonstrating Sulawesi followed a similar pattern of mid-Holocene cultural and ideological development as other regions in Southeast Asia. Both flexed and secondary burials were recovered. This new evidence provides a foundation to explain the role Sulawesi played in the known spatial distribution of Australomelanesoid humans during the Mid-Holocene.