SPECIFICITIES IN POSITION OF DEADS AS AN EXPRESSION OF THE POPULATION SPIRITUAL CULTURE IN THE AVAR KHAGANATE PERIOD ON THE TERRITORY OF SLOVAKIA
The article deals with the results of analyses of the anomalous ways in positioning the dead bodies at chosen burial grounds from the Avar Khaganate period on the territory of Slovakia. Big diversity of the registered funeral rites and the anomalous ways of dead bodies positioning, which after their simplification have been divided into four types, can serve as evidence of remarkable polymorphism of the ideas of life after death. Material equipment frequently found in the graves, respect to their general physical condition in cases of various pathological or post-traumatic states as well as respect to the apparent emotional connections in all ways of the dead bodies positioning indicates reverential character of these images. This can be also proved by the fact that majority of these anomalies have their origin in the above mentioned reverential manifestations based on individual attitude of the survivors. This individual attitude was influenced by the subjective images and distinctive emotions and undoubtedly potentiated by common funeral rites as well. Spiritual conceptions indicating the negative ideas were presumed in connection with some rare extreme way of positioning, with some practices and sporadically also with some deviations that had arisen as the results of intentional secondary interventions. Concluding from the results of analyses, particular images and incentives could be of different character. This can be said also about the identical practices that often indicate opposed motivation as far as the reverence is concerned. For example, in absences of the skulls or burials of separate skulls we can assume both the pious intervention that is connected with a traditional cult of the deceased and non-pious one that represents a way of punishment of the dead for his/her misdemeanour in social sphere. The paradox is that the decapitation in connection with finding situation can be evidence of the reverence when it had been used as a result of the consuetudinary law allowing the ritual murders of the wives after death of their husbands. The core of extremenesses noticed in connection with intentional application of some non-reverential practices both in primary burials and secondary interventions can be in the best way explained by the ethnographic parallels consisting of many meanings, which point out superstitious images connected with magic or vampirism. In any case, we cannot judge the interpretations of the motivations that led to some specificities in the dead bodies positioning as they are described in the ethnographic sources to be of universal value, as numerous interventions that are interpreted as anti-vampirical were in the period under study motivated by several superstitious images of the different meanings. In conclusion we can say that the found diversity of the anomalous ways of the dead bodies positioning and used burial practices are documenting the expression of constant confrontation of the individual and his personal conviction with existing images and principles in their local meaning. The very images, however, have to be interpreted as wider cultural manifestation of the poly-ethnic society in the Avar Khaganate period.
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