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The Archaeology of Death and Burial

by
ISBN13:

9781585440993

ISBN10:
158544099X
Format:
Paperback
Pub. Date:
2/1/2001
Publisher(s):
Texas A & M Univ Pr
List Price: $27.95

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Summary

The archaeology of death and burial is central to our attempts to understand vanished societies. Through the remains of funerary rituals we learn not only about prehistoric people's attitudes toward death and the afterlife but also about their culture, social system, and world view. This ambitious book reviews the latest research in this huge and important field and describes the sometimes controversial interpretations that have led to our understanding of life and death in the distant past. Mike Parker Pearson draws on case studies from different periods and locations throughout the world--the Paleolithic in Europe and the Near East, the Mesolithic in northern Europe, and the Iron Age in Asia and Europe. He also uses evidence from precontact North America, ancient Egypt, and Madagascar, as well as from the Neolithic and Bronze Age in Britain and Europe, to reconstruct vivid pictures of both ancient and not so ancient funerary rituals. He describes the political and ethical controversies surrounding human remains and the problems of reburial, looting, and war crimes. The Archaeology of Death and Burial provides a unique overview and synthesis of one of the most revealing fields of research into the past, which creates a context for several of archaeology's most breathtaking discoveries--from Tutankhamen to the Ice Man. This volume will find an avid audience among archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, and others who have a professional interest in, or general curiosity about, death and burial.

Author Biography

Mike Parker Pearson is a lecturer in the Department of Archaeology and Prehistory at the University of Sheffield.

Table of Contents

List of Figures
v
Acknowledgements vi
Learning from the Dead
1(20)
The funeral of a Viking
1(2)
Human remains: the archaeology of death or the archaeology of life?
3(2)
Inhumation
5(1)
Cremation
6(1)
Grave goods
7(4)
Cemetery organization
11(6)
Human sacrifice
17(3)
Conclusion
20(1)
From Now to Then: Ethnoarchaeology and Analogy
21(24)
The social anthropology of death
21(6)
Cross-cultural generalizations and the New Archaeology's search for middle range theory
27(5)
Funerary practices: agency, power and ideology
32(2)
Ethnoarchaeology and the reconsideration of analogy
34(2)
Tandroy funerary practices and the rise of monumentality
36(4)
The ethnoarchaeology of us: funerary practices in Britain and the US
40(4)
Conclusion
44(1)
Reading the Body
45(27)
Distancing death in recent and contemporary Britain
47(2)
Destroying the body
49(3)
Eating the body
52(2)
Laying out and adorning the body
54(1)
The absent and anonymous body
55(1)
Keeping the body
56(1)
Pharaohs of the New Kingdom and the corpse as cosmos
56(3)
Saints' bones: human relics as magical substance
59(2)
The frozen tombs of Pazyryk: the body's skin as sacred boundary
61(6)
Bog bodies: human sacrifices or social outcasts?
67(4)
Conclusion
71(1)
Status, Rank and Power
72(23)
Social evolutionary theory
72(1)
Mortuary variability and social organization
73(2)
New Archaeology case studies of status
75(3)
Grave goods and status
78(2)
Diet, health and status
80(3)
Rethinking grave goods and status
83(3)
Relationships between rank and power
86(1)
Moundville: funerary rituals of a prehistoric `chiefdom'
87(7)
Conclusion
94(1)
Gender and Kinship
95(29)
The osteological identification of sex
95(1)
Feminist theory and the rise of a `gendered' archaeology
96(5)
Gender identity and contextual meanings
101(1)
Little perishers: the archaeology of children
102(2)
Women, men and children in Danish prehistory
104(5)
Dress, gender and kinship
109(1)
Kinship and the New Archaeology
110(4)
Stratigraphic sequences and kinship
114(2)
Integrating funerary and biological approaches
116(8)
Placing the Dead
124(18)
Separating the dead from the living
124(7)
Sacred places of the dead
131(1)
Tombs and territories
132(4)
Descent groups and territoriality
136(3)
A tomb with a view
139(2)
Conclusion
141(1)
The Human Experience of Death
142(29)
Death and time
142(3)
Funerary rites and the origins of humanity
145(2)
Burials of the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic
147(6)
The Lower Palaeolithic: formal disposal and cannibalism?
153(3)
The origins of monumentality
156(1)
The construction of ancestorhood
157(4)
From plastered skulls to figurines: the mother-goddess myth rejected
161(3)
The quest for immortality
164(4)
The rise of the world religions
168(2)
The rise of secular beliefs
170(1)
The Politics of the Dead
171(22)
Native Americans and archaeologists
173(3)
Aboriginals and atrocities in Australia
176(1)
The politics of bones around the world
177(3)
Legal requirements and problem cases in Britain
180(3)
Archaeology and the public in Britain
183(2)
Codes of ethics for the treatment of human remains
185(3)
Plundering and pillaging the dead---the problem of looting
188(2)
The archaeology of twentieth-century atrocities
190(1)
Who owns the dead?
191(2)
Epilogue: Death and Memory
193(5)
Ritual
194(1)
Architecture, death and monuments
195(2)
Conclusion
197(1)
APPENDIX EXCAVATING HUMAN REMAINS 198(7)
Pre-excavation
198(1)
Excavating inhumations
199(2)
Excavating cremations
201(1)
Recording
202(1)
Lifting and temporary storage
202(2)
Post-excavation
204(1)
Notes 205(12)
Bibliography 217(27)
Index 244


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