The fiery transformation of the dead is replete in our popular culture and Western modernity's death ways, and yet it is increasingly evident how little this disposal method is understood by archaeologists and students of cognate disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. In this regard, the archaeological study of cremation has much to offer. Cremation is a fascinating and widespread theme and entry-point in the exploration of the variability of mortuary
practices among past societies.
Seeking to challenge simplistic narratives of cremation in the past and present, the studies in this volume seek to confront and explore the challenges of interpreting the variability of cremation by contending with complex networks of modern allusions and imaginings of cremations past and present and ongoing debates regarding how we identify and interpret cremation in the archaeological record. Using a series of original case studies, the book investigates the archaeological traces of
cremation in a varied selection of prehistoric and historic contexts from the Mesolithic to the present in order to explore cremation from a practice-oriented and historically situated perspective.
Jessica Cerezo-Roman is a College Fellow and Lecturer at the Department of Anthropology, Harvard University. She also wroks as a bioarchaeologist consultant for the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, Centro INAH Sonora, Mexico. She completed her PhD at The University of Arizona in 2014. Anna Wessman is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Helsinki and archaeologist and educator at the Espoo City Museum. Her PhD, entitled Death, Destruction and Commemoration which traced ritual activities in Finnish Late Iron Age cemeteries (AD 550-1150), was completed at the University of Helsinki in 2010. Howard Williams is Professor of Archaeology at the University of Chester. His research interests focus on medieval, post-medieval and contemporary mortuary archaeology, archaeologies of memory, and the history of archaeology. Howard has published over 80 book chapters and journal articles as well as edited books, including most recently Archaeologists and the Dead (OUP, 2016). He is author of the monograph Death and Memory in Early Medieval Britain (CUP, 2006).
PART 1: RELATIONAL FIERY TECHNOLOGIES; PART 2: TRANSFORMING AND COMMEMORATING WITH CREMATION; PART 3: SPACE AND TIME IN CREMATING SOCIETIES