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7 th International Colloquium of Funerary Archaeology

Al 7-lea Colocviu internaţional de arheologie funerară

Topic : “The society of the living – the community of the dead” (from Neolithic to the Christian era)

Tema: „Societatea celor vii”- „comunitatea celor care dorm” (din neolitic la epoca creştină)

Sibiu 6-9 october / octombrie 2005

Death – social phenomenon at Paleobalkan peoples (abstract)

Ion Niculită, Tudor Arnăut (Chişinău - Rep. of Moldavia)

The research history of information systematization of about the phenomenon of death, about the perception of the mental behavior of human communities in the carpathian-danubian-pontic space represents a field of frequent interest in the funerary archaeology. The attempts to explain it reached the idea, which is in accordance with those of antic authors from Herodotus to Julian the Apostatus to recognize the existence within Thracian and Scythian, of populations of a deep and severe religiousness. A series of studies of synthesis and with monographic character, signed by Al. Vulpe, D. Protase, M. Babeş, I Niculită, G. Simion, V. Sîrbu, etc. or by A. Olhovsky, A. Hazanov, etc. contributed to a better understanding of the funerary ceremonials and to a clearer identification of the image of strongly sacral society of the human communities from the space in discussion. The researchers had materialized the attitude towards the phenomenon of death, symbol of completion and freedom from life, which in the human consciousness was manifested under the form of joy to reach, bodily, through decease, Zalmoxis, or through diverse preparations to reach other chthonic deities. Therefore, emerged the assumption that death, for example, within Gets didn’t mean but the continuity of another kind of life, which according to the predictions of M. Eliade represented an end followed immediately by a new beginning.
The specialist concerned with the study of funerary ideology distinguishes, in a larger spectrum of practices, the phase of separation (the individual leaves its previous state), the phase of latency and the phase of aggregation in which the defunct passes from one world to another. Therefore, imagining the death as an existential and framework transfer, the Gets had invented preparatory practices which finalized with the involvement of the rite and ritual of burial.
Archaeologically, for the discussed period, there had been accumulated important data concerning the types of funerary monuments, and their frequency in certain areas. The researchers were tempted in this order of ideas to reflect for a social reality sealed in the eternity of death. The rites and rituals invented permit to structure the essential phenomenon of life. With special methods, they reached to the deciphering of things in a concrete way, to the perception of the social into a dynamics where systems of relations of different aspects of life are involved. The feelings and the physiology of the individuals are placed into a social integration, representing the reality offered by the funerary monument. The aim of research is to observe the whole group and its social behavior.
Why as a social fact? Because the phenomenon of “death” involves more social groups (individuals, clans, lineage, unities of kindred, tribes), and the unities involved in the funerary ritual are not only material gifts/goods, but also services, prayers, even human sacrifices (women, children, slaves, etc). In this case, the most important is to find out if all these are of free choice, of tradition or out of constraint.



International Union for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences


The 30th comission

"Lucian Blaga" University Sibiu

Research Centre:

„BRUKENTHAL” National Museum


History Museum (MNBS)

Directia judeţeană pentru Cultură, Culte şi Patrimoniul Cultural Naţional Sibiu



For further information, please contact:

Prof.univ.dr. Sabin Adrian Luca: E - mail: sabinadrianluca@hotmail.com

Dr. Valeriu SIRBU: E - mail: valeriu_sirbu@yahoo.co.uk