The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Death and BurialFrom the tomb of Tutankhamun to the grave of Richard III, archaeologists have studied, displayed and debated rich and varied evidence of the burial and commemoration of the dead from past times to the present day. Mortuary data is not only a key window into the human past, it defines and resonates through 20th and 21st-century popular culture. For instance, in what circumstances if at all is it ethical to dig up and display human remains? What do people learn from meeting ancient people in museums and heritage sites? How significant is mortuary archaeology in our own present-day imaginings of prehistoric and historical societies, as well as fantastical and fictional societies portrayed in literature and film? Tackling questions such as these, osteoarchaeologists and mortuary archaeologists have often found themselves at the forefront of the public engagements for interdisciplinary and archaeological research. It aims to re-evaluate the range and character of public mortuary archaeology critically through a range of case studies from the UK, Europe and farther afield.
Keil Chapel and Burial Ground
The Archaeology of Death and Burial
Use the link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues. Learn more. Archaeologists have excavated mortuary contexts and the remains of the dead since the beginning of activity within their discipline. The study of these remains has taken place under different rubrics, including burial archaeology, mortuary archaeology, archaeology of the dead, funerary archaeology, osteoarchaeology, human bioarchaeology, and archaeology of death. The study of mortuary contexts and accompanying artifacts has largely taken place in separation from the study of the human remains. Does the study of the remains of the dead, and the contexts within which these are found, constitute an archaeology of death, or an archaeology of funerary remains, as tacitly implied by the titles of numerous publications focusing on such remains?
Parker Pearson's book adopts a post-processual approach to funerary archaeology. It explores earlier approaches to the subject that have been advocated by social anthropologists and processual archaeologists. The Archaeology of Death and Burial was reviewed in various academic, peer-reviewed journals, to widespread praise, with a number of reviewers noting that the book would work well as a textbook on the subject of funerary archaeology for students. Some however criticised what they saw as Parker Pearson's dismissive and negative attitude towards processual approaches to funerary archaeology. Mike Parker Pearson attained his BA in archaeology at the University of Southampton in , where he had been supervised by the prominent post-processual archaeologist Ian Hodder , and socialised with several of Hodder's other students, including Sheena Crawford, Daniel Miller , Henrietta Moore, Christopher Tilley and Alice Welbourn. Like them, he had come under the influence of Hodder's post-processual ideas, in particular his use of structuralism as an interpretative tool.
Keywords: global , bioarchaeology , social theory , ethics , history of archaeological thought. Her research centres on the archaeology of death, archaeology of later historical periods, especially in Britain and Ireland, and archaeological theory. She has written and edited many books including Bereavement and Commemoration Blackwell and Ritual, belief and the dead in early modern Britain and Ireland Cambridge as well as many papers on aspects of the archaeology of death, and is an editor of the journal Archaeological Dialogues.
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