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  • An extended burial of a young adult female was recovered from Late Pleistocene deposits along the Narmada River in Rampura, Narmada District, Gujarat, Western India in 2005. Radiocarbon dating of the skeleton indicates that the individual was buried between 324 and 60 years ago, with the mean estimation placing the year of death at 1817. Osteological analyses indicate that the individual is a female who died between the ages of 16 and 21 years, and morphometric analyses of the cranium place show affinity with the community of South Asians known as adivasis or 'tribals.' Analyses of the dentition of the young woman, who had pink teeth, could shed light on the possible cause of death. If this condition was not brought on post-mortem due to the wet soil conditions, it could reflect death by drowning. Although burial in general is rare in India (where cremation is typically practiced among Hindus) and burials outside of cemeteries are uncommon for the non-Hindu communities, a few local tribal groups are known to bury their dead. Comparative cross-cultural analyses of death rituals among India's tribal populations in conjunction with an analysis of the specimen itself are combined to infer the population affinity of this individual. This specimen provides rare first-hand information on the burial practices of India's tribal groups. 2010 The Anthropological Society of Nippon.

published proceedings

  • Anthropological Science

author list (cited authors)

  • ATHREYA, S., & RAJ, R.

publication date

  • January 1, 2010 11:11 AM