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1 December 2013 Powerful birds. The Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius) and the osprey (Pandion haliaetus) in hunter-gatherer burials at Zvejnieki, northern Latvia and Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov, northwestern Russia
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Abstract

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.

© Publications Scientifiques du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris.
Kristiina Mannermaa "Powerful birds. The Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius) and the osprey (Pandion haliaetus) in hunter-gatherer burials at Zvejnieki, northern Latvia and Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov, northwestern Russia," Anthropozoologica 48(2), (1 December 2013). https://doi.org/10.5252/az2013n2a1
Received: 3 October 2011; Accepted: 19 January 2012; Published: 1 December 2013
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