Ian Hodder, "Skull Cults and Body Parts" (review of Karina Croucher, Death and Dying in the Neolithic Near East [Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012], Times Literary Supplement No. 5722 (Nov. 30, 2012), 32.  Print and Web.  Viewed online 12/21/12.  Available: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/reviews/other_categories/article1169280.ece

        "Death and Dying in the Neolithic Near East brings a new perspective to the archaeology of death and burial in southwest Asia at the time of the first farmers and large villages of the Neolithic, around 9000 BCE. Karina Croucher acknowledges some overall trends. For example, the earlier Neolithic is often associated with skull cults, in which heads were removed from decaying corpses and circulated within communities, sometimes plastered and painted, before final deposition.

          Burials often occurred inside or near houses. But in the later Neolithic, houses and burial were often more separated, and there are more primary burials associated with burial goods. Croucher's main aim, however, is to show the diversity of practices and the need to interpret at a local level. Thus the Skull Building at Çayönü Tepesi containing hundreds of crania, the evidence for cannibalism in the Death Pit at Domuztepe, and the ritual human-animal relationships at Kfar HaHoresh are all deemed to be of interest in their own right.

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        " The book follows the usual practice of referring to the area of study as the "Near East". Given that this area corresponds to the present-day Middle East, it seems out of touch to keep using this archaic term. The terms "Near" and "Middle" refer of course to the position of the area in relation to Europe. Indeed, much of this book is concerned to read Middle Eastern prehistory in terms of the archaeology of Europe, and in particular of Britain. This reading of the data from a distant centre can be productive and helpful. . . "