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Bodies Transformed: Negotiations of Identity in Chalcolithic Cyprus

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 January 2017

Kirsi O. Lorentz*
Affiliation:
The Cyprus Institute, Cyprus

Abstract

This paper focuses on how the human body, and the dead body in particular, was used to create social categories and identities in prehistoric Cyprus. Specifically, it explores how a particular condition, such as death, was integrated into social processes, and how the treatment of dead bodies both created and reinforced social categories and identities. The material the paper focuses on is the mortuary evidence from Chalcolithic Cyprus (3800–2300 BC). In particular, it argues that the extensive, intentional manipulation of dead bodies and human remains visible in Cypriot Chalcolithic cemeteries was aimed at integrating the individual to communal, collective wholes on the occasion of death and during the time period that followed.

Cet article porte sur la façon dont le corps humain, et plus particulièrement le cadavre, était utilisé pour créer des catégories et identités sociales en Chypre préhistorique. Plus précisément, il examine comment une condition particulière comme la mort fût intégrée dans des processus sociaux, et comment le traitement des cadavres créait et renforçait en même temps des catégories et identités sociales. Les preuves matérielles sur lesquelles cet article se base sont les maisons mortuaires en Chypre chalcolithique. On soutient notamment que la manipulation extensive et intentionnelle des cadavres et restes humains comme on l'observe dans les cimetières du Chalcolithique chypriote, avait pour but d'intégrer l'individu à des ensembles communautaires et collectifs à l'occasion d'un décès et pendant la période consécutive. Translation by Isabelle Gerges.

Zusammenfassung

Zusammenfassung

Dieser Beitrag untersucht, wie der menschliche Körper—und insbesondere der eines Verstorbenen—dazu genutzt wurde, soziale Kategorien und Identitäten im prähistorischen Zypern zu schaffen. Insbesondere betrachtet er, wie ein bestimmter Zustand, wie z. B. der Tod, in soziale Prozesse eingebettet war und wie die Behandlung des toten Körpers soziale Kategorien und Identitäten schuf und auch vertiefte. Das Ausgangsmaterial des Artikels umfasst menschliche Überreste des kupferzeitlichen Zypern. Insbesondere wird betont, dass die umfassende und intentionelle Manipulation des toten Körpers und menschlicher Überreste, die auf chalkolithischen Nekropolen Zyperns beobachtet werden können, darauf hinzielte, das Individuum anlässlich des Todes und der nachfolgenden Zeit in die kommunale, kollektive Gesamtheit einzubeziehen. Translation by Heiner Schwarzberg

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © European Association of Archaeologists 2014 

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