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Title: Robbery, Veneration and Destruction
Subtitle: On the Reuse of Early Bronze Age Tombs in Syria
Author(s): DÖPPER, Stephanie
Journal: Ancient Near Eastern Studies
Volume: 58    Date: 2021   
Pages: 173-203
DOI: 10.2143/ANES.58.0.3290205

Abstract :
Reuse manifests itself in the archaeological record in many different forms, including the displacement or absence of (parts of) skeletons and grave goods, the addition of human bodies and objects and the destruction of the built environment of the tomb. This paper investigates the archaeological evidence for reuse at Early Bronze Age tombs in Syria, specifically, the resumption of activities after a period of interruption. By re-examining data from 1014 tombs, it will be demonstrated that such activities, albeit encountered rarely in the archaeological record, are unlikely to be explained by grave robbery for most of the occurrences. It will be further argued that while later activities at elite tombs might be explained by acts of ancestor veneration or destruction of mnemonic reference of the (formerly) ruling powers, such explanations do not easily work for non-elite tombs, and thus alternative interpretations are needed.

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