Zooarchaeological Study from Phum Snay (A Prehistoric Cemetery in Northwestern Cambodia)

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The faunal assemblage from Phum Snay comprises different components, first animal bones as graves goods and second other bone fragments originating from settlement activities. However, it remains doubtful whether the bones of the second are contemporaneous with the real burial gifts. The animal bones as graves goods exhibits some very characteristics features. The mammal and reptiles remains exclusively derive from wild animals and include water buffalo, cattle, pig and crocodile and turtle and tortoise. But fish also incorporated in the grave cult. Judging from the species composition and size of the fishbone they must derive from prepared meals (like fish soup, Salted fish, Marinate fish, Rooted or smoke fish). With concern the mammal remains it is evident that in 19 burials from location A, B,C and D in excavation campaign of 2007 mostly the left, but in the location E 18 burials nearly all remains from right side. But this complete fore limbs of large bovidae, cervidae and pig were deposited from scapula until the toebones. These burial gifts were in most cases laid down on the left side of the buried human, either left to his head, his feet or left to his corps in location A, B,C and D and in right side location E . According to the exploitation of the animals during their life and right in difference area of the site, we think may be in the former time the people in Phum Snay site they have two groups and they go to hunting to gather and after they divide the meat in difference part (one group on left and other on right). The bone of buffalo proved only adult animals, cattle were offered as adult and young but almost fully grown, and pig bone exclusively represent young and elder animals. The animal bones found in non-burial (pit) context reveal a broad spectrum of foraging economy which exploited a wide range of ecosystems: forests, grass and marshlands, rivers and inundated fields resulting in the catch of deer, boar, smaller carnivores, cranes, tortoises, turtles, crocodiles and fish. This majority of the hunt was Kouprey, wild water buffalo, deer, boar and binturong are adapted to jungles and forests. The site’s current environment is a manmade landscape with cultivated fields which is not feasible for forest dwellers, thus, one has to reckon with more forested areas at the site in the prehistoric time. However, if the crop cultivation during the late prehistoric inhabitation of Phum Snay was an intensive and extended as today, the forest species must have been hunted in the areas fare away. There are many variations available in South East Asian economy based on rice, cattle, pig and water buffalo breeding, fishing and collecting and hunting of wild ungulates (Higham 1989). Burial techniques include similar rituals as observed in Phum Snay, but also different rituals. From our analysis we could get the impression that the burial rites in Phum Snay have a very long tradition given the fact that all these data compared are dating in the second and first millennium ago. However, there is a series of differences with whole pig, and dog skeletons and different positions of the animal gifts in the graves.
Dissertação de Mestrado em Quaternário e Pré-História
Arqueologia , Fauna , Pré-história