National Geographic : 1993 Jun
LAST RITES i C ailing upon higher powers, a village chieftain or priest leads a burial ceremony at a time when few people lived past 40. Archaeologists believe that in many Copper Age mass burials the bodies of the dead were ritually defleshed by exposure to the elements or by temporary burial, and the skeletons broken up. At auspicious times of the year the bones were gathered and prayed over and then piled into a dolmen. To make room, older remains were removed and burned. Headstone-like stelae may designate clans inside the tomb. "i - I. . ay.