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Tepecik-Çiftlik, until now the only tell site excavated in volcanic Cappadocia, was occupied between the beginning of the 8th to the middle of 6th millennium and provides a profound amount of data for the Neolithic and early Chalcolithic periods. Rich and diverse environmental conditions allowed groups in this region to establish flourishing societies. Due to its location close to the Göllüdağ obsidian sources, the site seems to have played an important role in controlling the sources through production and exchange of raw materials and tools. These activities caused the appearance of extroverted and communicative societies, who had interests in and ties to distant territories, to “other worlds,” eventually culminating in a migration of parts of the society to territories situated in the north. To find out what was encouraging this migration, further research in volcanic Cappadocia will be crucial.
Archaeological studies of Early Islamic communities in Central Asia have focused on lowland urban communities. Here, the authors report on recent geophysical survey and excavation of an Early Islamic cemetery at Tashbulak in south-eastern Uzbekistan. AMS dating places the establishment of the cemetery in the mid-eighth century AD, making it one of the earliest Islamic burial grounds documented in Central Asia. Burials at Tashbulak conform to Islamic prescriptions for grave form and body deposition. The consistency in ritual suggests the existence of a funerary community of practice, challenging narratives of Islamic conversion in peripheral areas as a process of slow diffusion and emphasising the importance of archaeological approaches for documenting the diversity of Early Islamic communities.
The past four decades have been a time of great activity for researchers examining the Iron Age in north-west Europe. Since the 1980s, the scale of archaeological fieldwork has expanded massively and, with it, the quantity of data available to study. Iron Age mortuary data have been one of the main beneficiaries of this. Britain is no exception to this trend, with a number of important discoveries made over the years, thereby improving our understanding of mortuary practices during this period. The situation is comparable for the regions which immediately border Britain: Ireland, northern France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. This paper reviews the current state of research for this part of Europe, contextualising the Iron Age British data within the broader north-west European frame of these neighbouring regions. In so doing, a better understanding of how chronological developments in the British mortuary data relate to those elsewhere is possible. Additionally, these data may inform us of other aspects of past societies, such as population mobility, social structure, and the persistence of ritual practices over time.
Chapter 13, “Sacred Dimensions: Death and Burial,” examines burial practices in Constantinople between the fourth century and the fifteenth century. Particular attention is given to aristocratic and imperial burial practice.
Chapter 11, “Sacred Dimensions: Church Building and Ecclesiastical Practice,” examines the relationship between church building and ecclesiastical practice in Byzantine Constantinople. It outlines the ways in which architecture accommodates and responds to the exigencies of ritual both on a practical, and on a symbolic level to reveal how church buildings were understood symbolically as worship spaces, manifestations of piety, wealth, power, and prestige, and places of perpetual commemoration.
Recently rediscovered photographs of the remains of thirteen individuals buried in the Sado Valley Mesolithic shell middens of Poças de S. Bento and Arapouco, excavated in 1960 and 1962, show the potential of revisiting excavation archives with new methods. The analysis, which applies the principles of archaeothanatology and is enriched by experimental taphonomic research, confirmed details concerning the treatment of the dead body and provided new insights into the use of burial spaces. Some bodies may have been mummified prior to burial, a phenomenon possibly linked to their curation and transport, highlighting the significance of both the body and the burial place in Mesolithic south-western Portugal.
This Element provides a new evaluation of burial customs in New Kingdom Egypt, from about 1550 to 1077 BC, with an emphasis on burials of the wider population. It also covers the regions then under Egyptian control: the Southern Levant and the area of Nubia as far as the Fourth Cataract. The inclusion of foreign countries provides insights not only into the interaction between the centre of the empire and its conquered regions, but also concerning what is typically Egyptian and to what extent the conquered regions were culturally influenced. It can be shown that burials in Lower Nubia closely follow those in Egypt. In the southern Levant, by contrast, cemeteries of the period often yield numerous Egyptian objects, but burial customs in general do not follow those in Egypt.
Chapter 4 argues in favor of seeing medieval justice as penitential justice with the ultimate goal of spiritual reform. Medieval society blurred the lines between sin and crime, penance and punishment. Recognizing this distortion is how one makes sense of peine forte et dure. Pain as an experience is key to the performance of penance. Through physical pain, the disordered soul is righted and the sinner gains entrance to heaven. Fasting, seclusion, denial of luxuries – these are all ascetic practices with a long association with Christian penance. Even pressing with weights appears as a penitential practice in numerous sermon stories from the era. Exposing the uncooperative sinner to an ascetic lifestyle, even if it was against his wishes, was in the best interests of the defendant’s soul. As a coercive measure, it helped to begin the process of purging his sin before he agreed to place himself in the hands of the jury. As such, he displayed to jurors his willingness to reform his ways and reconcile with the Christian community.
This chapter surveys the archaeological evidence for the period of the settlement of Brittany from Britain. The absorption of the Armorican peninsula into the land-based Roman Empire in the first century BC ended its long-standing role in prehistory as an important bridge for trade and cultural communication between the Atlantic Archipelago and the Continent. It was further marginalised by the concentration of resources in frontier zones under the late Empire. However, the political and economic decline of late-Roman Armorica was apparently gradual, in contrast with the sudden disruption of the relatively prosperous lowland zone of Britain in the early fifth century. Differences such as these may partly explain the absence of direct archaeological evidence for migration. The absence from Brittany of the high-status material culture seen in Britain outside the zone of English settlement in the fifth to seventh centuries (hill-forts, decorated metalwork, imported pottery) may reflect Brittany’s relative poverty but also the extreme diffusion of political power there, and a lesser degree of conflict. More modest, newly discovered archaeological evidence indicates Brittany’s continued connections to the wider world of north-western Europe in more basic developments in agriculture and rural settlement forms.
This chapter turns to the experiences of the laity when they found themselves in ecclesiastical courts in disputes over marriage, wills and burial, disorderly behaviour, or unacceptable use of language: speech crimes: brawling, defamation and blasphemy. It looks at examples of the costs and consequences to the laity of finding themselves in ecclesiastical courts, and the role of the debtors’ prisons.
Recent aDNA analyses demonstrate that the centuries surrounding the arrival of the Beaker Complex in Britain witnessed a massive turnover in the genetic make-up of the island's population. The genetic data provide information both on the individuals sampled and the ancestral populations from which they derive. Here, the authors consider the archaeological implications of this genetic turnover and propose two hypotheses—Beaker Colonisation and Steppe Drift—reflecting critical differences in conceptualisations of the relationship between objects and genes. These hypotheses establish key directions for future research designed to investigate the underlying social processes involved and raise questions for wider interpretations of population change detected through aDNA analysis.
uses the biopolitical and socio-environmental perspectives on health constructed in the previous chapters to reinterpret municipal responses to plague. This chapter argues that when Netherlandish cities took action against epidemic spread, they applied pre-existing health policies. It challenges two scholarly biases, namely of crisis and of government. First, actions to prevent spread of the plague are often interpreted as radical innovations, yet many subjects targeted in plague ordinances were usual suspects and recurring problems; already regulated outside the context of plague because they were perceived as posing a (combined) threat to physical and moral communal well-being. Cities employed various strategies, from quarantine and street sanitation to spiritual measures and culling dogs. Secondly, there is a clear need to move beyond a top-down perspective and complicate the playing field of daily dealings with an epidemic through networks of plague care, which are discussed here by focusing on the role of hospitals, medical officials and confraternal caregivers, especially the Cellites.
Machu Picchu, in Cuzco, is one of the most famous archaeological sites in South America. The precise dating of the monumental complex, however, relies largely on documentary sources. Samples of bone and teeth from individuals buried in caves at four cemeteries around Machu Picchu form the basis for a new programme of AMS radiocarbon-dating. The results show that the site was occupied from c. AD 1420–1532, with activity beginning two decades earlier than suggested by the textual sources that associate the site with Emperor Pachacuti's rise to power in AD 1438. The new AMS dates—the first large set published for Machu Picchu—therefore have implications for the wider understanding of Inca chronology.
In 2015, an unusual burial was uncovered during construction works at Great Casterton, Rutland. A male adult human skeleton, secured at the ankles with a pair of iron fetters and a padlock, was buried in a probable ditch. Iron hobnails were present around the feet of the individual. A radiocarbon date (AMS) from the burial produced a date of a.d. 226–427 with 95.4 per cent probability. This example appears to be the first definitive archaeologically excavated instance of an individual buried in this manner in Roman Britain. The character of the burial may imply that this was a slave, although other possibilities are also considered, as are the wider social and symbolic implications of the inclusion of shackles in a burial.
Chapter 5 examines the problematics of the altered body in relation to the doctrine of bodily resurrection. Beginning with a scholarly and literary perspective, I show how theorists attempted to square the fact of bodily change with belief in the resurrection of the same body. In John Donne’s poetry and sermons, this conflict is both anguished and productive, yielding rich depictions of the body’s scattered parts and their heavenly reunion. Issues of embodiment surfaced in a refracted form in miracle accounts which featured the supernatural restoration or replacement of amputated limbs. The ‘Miracle of the Black Leg’ was one such account; this unique tale featured a saintly surgery in which a diseased white limb was replaced with a leg from a black corpse, prompting questions about whether that flesh could really ‘belong’ to its new body. Finally, I look to burial practices. Theoretical expositions of the body’s fate after death often contrasted with the way in which ‘real’ people chose to bury their bodies and body parts; the latter often demonstrates the flexibility with which they considered embodiment.
This article uses the death and burial of one of the most important political leaders in twentieth-century Africa, and Nigeria's first and only ceremonial president, Rt. Hon. (Dr.) Nnamdi Azikiwe, to reflect on how and why the deaths and burials of significant persons in Africa represent occasions for the (re)production and management of cultural crises. It argues that the extant literature on the death of consequential persons in Africa either understates or overlooks the generalizability of the “essential contestability” of the material and immaterial relations of the past, present, and future provoked by such deaths. This is particularly visible when these relations are disturbed or challenged by the absence of the person and the process of their burial or reburial.
Between AD c. 400 and c. 1100, Christian ideas about the afterlife changed in subtle but important ways. This chapter outlines broad trends in thought about the afterlife in this period in the Latin West, and examines the concomitant changes in thinking about the post-mortem fates of souls. Ongoing contemporary discourse around topics such as sin and penance or baptism contributed to developments in the way that contemporaries understood the afterlife, including heaven, hell, and an interim state between death and universal judgement. Significantly, as Christians came to be more certain about some aspects of the afterlife, the possibility of salvation for individual souls was perceived to be less certain. As a result, by the end of the period there is much greater evidence for concern about the post-mortem fate of the soul than there had been at the beginning, laying the foundations for high medieval theological discussions and developments.
This chapter asks where and how Rome (and, by extension, polemics self-consciously characterized as reactions against Rome) figures in efforts to determine what the living owe to the dead, and what the dead can do for the living. Latin occupies a controlling position within this inquiry; so, too, do texts that cast the world of the living as the home of the dead; so, finally, do Reformation-era debates about the soteriological stakes of praying for the dead. These topics span a period of time in which Rome is the gravitational centre of a sequence of massive upheavals in vernacular piety and attendant debates about the relationship between the living and the dead. The chapter argues that interpreting these debates as facets of the fact of Rome alerts us to the role that the human voice plays in probing the limits of mortality and the nature of the human as such.
This chapter examines a third pro-migration activist intervention, which involves the dressing of unmarked graves at cemeteries in which the bodies of those who died en route are buried. It situates the intervention in relation to existing instruments of containment charted in Part I and shows how grave dressing challenges biopolitical, thanatopolitical and zoopolitical dynamics of governing migration through death and vulnerability by accounting for the lives of those who have died at sea. The chapter draws on research carried out in Lampedusa and considers how cemetery activism invokes dignity in death through the naming of the deceased and the marking of graves as sites of loss and mourning. In so doing, it shows how such interventions go beyond an action for the dead alone, albeit in terms that bring to bear tensions between and within a politics of pity and a politics of empathy. By exploring different strands of cemetery activism, the chapter highlights the critical importance of those interventions that involve a refusal of racialised processes of dehumanisation and that extend practices of mourning beyond commemoration in terms that render visible the normalisation of death and vulnerability. It shows how such interventions enact dignity in death through a politics of responsibility that directly challenges authorities for a failure to account for the lives of those lost or disappeared. Grave dressing in this regard not only draws attention to the problems of a politics orientated towards the security of home, but also recreates home in more hopeful terms, through the enactment of a politics of collective responsibility for deaths at sea in solidarity with both the living and the dead.
This chapter discusses the life-expectancy of rulers, the frequency of violent death in different times and places and burial practices. Some dynasties developed long-lasting mausolea, notably the kings of France at St.-Denis, but in other realms there were changes in the choice of royal burial church, sometimes reflecting changes in dynasty, sometimes alterations in the territory of the kingdom. Reinterments of the royal dead, which were not rare, had public political significance. There is discussion of the physical qualities of tombs, their material, grave goods and epitaphs, and also the development of tomb effigies, including the joint effigies of kings and queens sometimes found in the later Middle Ages. The burial of body parts in different places multiplied centres of remembrance, despite official disapproval of the practice by the papacy. Finally, cases of damnatio memoriae, the conscious desecration of enemy tombs, are discussed.