Friday, September 15, 2017

0380 - Part of a shaman's mask?

Perdigões ditched enclosures present several evidences of social practices embedded in rituality and symbolism. This can be seen in the location of the site, in its architectonic design, it many of its contexts and in several of the recorded materials. We are now starting to deal with a specific object, recovered in a Late Neolithic context that has also other specific circumstances and materials that point to such a kid of social practices.

It is a deer pair of antlers still attached to part of the cranium that was cut. So the animal was killed and its skull cut in a specific way in order to maintain the two antlers.

It is known that these “objects” were associated to masks used in shamanic ceremonies since ancient times (some art interpretations take these practices back to Upper Paleolithic).

Depiction of an Evenki shaman wearing antler headdress (after Witsen 1785, 655).
Taken from Little et al. 2016, PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0152136 April 13, 2016

At Perdigões, some other signs of possible shamanic practices exist. But this one will be the next to be explored in a forthcoming paper.

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