Skip to main content Accessibility help

Funerals As Feasts: Why Are They So Important?

  • Brian Hayden (a1)


Extremely lavish funeral feasts are common and expensive in many village and chiefdom societies. Anthropologists and politicians often explain such apparently economically irrational expenditures in terms of culture values or traditions. However, viewed from the broader perspective of other types of promotional feasts in transegalitarian or more complex societies (including marriages and house feasts), overtly competitive funeral feasts are used to advertise the success of the surviving family and kin groups. This socioeconomic promotion is important for attracting powerful/successful/wealthy families as affines and allies. Such allies are critical for defending family and individual self-interests in village political and economic struggles that are endemic. Funerals are especially apt contexts for these displays and political manoeuvres.


Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • ISSN: 0959-7743
  • EISSN: 1474-0540
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-archaeological-journal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed