Multiple burials in Siksälä cemetery (12th–15th cc): Bioarchaeological aspect


  • Leiu Heapost Department of Archaeobiology and Ancient Technology, Institute of History, Tallinn University



multiple burials, biological status, stature, grave goods, Late Iron Age, Middle Ages, South-East Estonia


The aim of this paper is to give a bioarchaeological overview of the graves with multiple simultaneous burials in the South-East Estonian Siksälä cemetery (12th– 15th cc). Six inhumation graves with a total of 16 individuals were analysed. The studied multiple burials represent various age and gender combinations. Any relations between skeletal pathologies and grave goods could not be observed.

In three multiple burials from the studied six, the wounds of the male skeleton indicate violence and these individuals could have died as a result of a violent assault. In two cases, the burials do not display pathological bone changes. The earlier burial dating from the 14th century, contained females aged 17–18 and 12–14 years. Probably an infectious disease of short duration was the reason for the death of both young individuals at approximately the same time in the case of that burial, as well as in the case of the triple children’s burial from the 15th century.

In the 15th century, the number of finds in graves decreases. Burial costume becomes simpler and the occurrence of finds pointing to status and ethnocultural identity decreases greatly. All these circumstances are also reflected, in one way or the other, in the studied multiple burials.


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