Engaging with the Dead adopts a cross-disciplinary, archaeologically focused, approach to explore a variety of themes linked to the interpretation of mortuary traditions, death and the ways of disposing of the dead. Nineteen papers highlight the current vitality of `death studies' and the potential of future research and discoveries. Contributors explore changing beliefs and practices over time, considering how modern archaeology, ethnography and historical records can aid our interpretations of the past, as well as considering how past practices may have influenced understandings of death and dying within the modern world. It is clear that there are very significant variations in the quantity of dead that appear in the archaeological record over time, and the contributions to this volume attempt to understand why that might be the case.
By bringing together papers from a variety of specialists working within Europe and the Near East, we investigate the pivotal role of death studies in the 21st century, providing a case for the retention of human remains in archaeological collections. Engaging with the Dead aims to set period specific contributions within a broader perspective and integrates papers from bioarchaeologists, theologists, textual specialists, as well as archaeologists. It provides an in-depth introduction to the multitude of ways in which the mortuary record can be interrogated and interpreted and explores the role of archaeology and theology within contemporary social studies.
This volume challenges our current understanding and conceptualisation of mortuary practices in the ancient and contemporary world.
Jennie Bradbury is Senior Research Associate on the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East & North Africa (EAMENA) project at the University of Oxford. She is a Near Eastern archaeologist, with research interests in traditions of burial in the ancient near east, landscape archaeology, GIS and remote sensing and society and social complexity. Chris Scarre is Professor in the Department of Archaeology, University of Durham. He has wide-ranging research interests in the prehistory of western Europe, with a particular interest in the archaeology of the Atlantic facade (Portugal, France, Britain & Ireland), most recently inthe study of patterns of burial evidence in Britain and the Levant from the Neolithic to the Roman period. He is editor of the interrnationally renowned journal Antiquity.
1. Introduction: Engaging with the dead Jennie Bradbury and Chris Scarre 2. Tracking the dead in the Neolithic: the `Invisible Dead' in Britain Mandy Jay & Chris Scarre 3. Mind the gap ... what did Late Bronze Age people do with their dead?: Evidence from Cliffs End, Kent Jacqueline McKinley 4. Death in the countryside: New light on Romano-British rural burial practice Alex Smith 5. Iron Age Mortuary Variability in the Southern Levant David Ilan 6. Taphonomic agents as the source of bias in osteological research in the Near East Arkadiusz Soltysiak & Rafal Fetner 7. Protracted burial practices and the beginning of cremation in the ancient Near East: two independent phenomena? Candida Felli 8. Shifting identities: mortuary practices, human belief and society in the Levantine Bronze Age Jennie Bradbury & Graham Philip 9. Looking Forward to Look Back: How Investigations of Historical Burial Populations can Inform our Interpretations of Prehistoric Burial Practice Amanda Murphy & Andrew Chamberlain 10. Developing and implementing big picture approaches in bioarchaeology: opportunities and challenges Charlotte Roberts 11. Dead and (un)buried: reconstructing attitudes to death in long-term perspective Mike Parker-Pearson 12. Reanimating the Dead: The circulation of human bone in the British Later Bronze Age Joanna Bruck 13. Remembering the "ancient" dead: long-term funerary processes at two royal burial places at Qatna, Syria Peter Pflazner 14. The visible dead: ethnographic perspectives on the curation, display and circulation of human remains in Iron Age Britain Ian Armit 15. The Distribution of Graves and the Food within - the Evidence from 2nd Millennium B.C.E. Mari, Syria Sarah Lange 16. Variations on a Tomb: The Umm el-Marra Mortuary Complex in the Context of Elite Burial Ritual in 3rd Millennium Western Syria Sarah Yukich 17. Continuing bonds past and present: A reinterpretation of Southwest Asia's Neolithic mortuary practices in light of contemporary theories of bereavement Karina Croucher 18. Conceptualising the Dead Body: The image of the corpse in modern burial reform Julie Rugg 19. Conclusion: Beyond the Invisible Dead Jennie Bradbury & Chris Scarre Short Biography