Recent archaeological studies reveal the importance of birds in prehistoric North-European hunter-fisher-gatherer burial practices. In this article I describe two examples of bird species at prehistoric hunter-gatherer burials: the Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius) at the Middle Neolithic Zvejnieki site in northern Latvia, and the osprey (Pandion haliaetus) at the Late Mesolithic Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov site in western Russia. I suggest that the bone finds and their archaeological contexts indicate a prehistoric ideology that can be interpreted as representing totemism and shamanism. The wing bones had a specific function and meaning, probably connected to protection, transformation or transport. The deposition of osprey legs may indicate that the power of this bird was particularly appreciated and re-mobilized in the burial.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.