The Archaeology of Death

ARCL 419 with Darlene Weston.

The Archaeology of Death:  Archaeologists can interpret past cultures and societies via the recovery of archaeological evidence associated with human remains in mortuary contexts: in other words, “the dead do not bury themselves” (Parker Pearson 1999:3). This course will provide students with a solid grounding in the literature of funerary/mortuary archaeology. In addition to archaeological data, emphasis will be placed on the theoretical foundations of mortuary data, drawn from cultural anthropology and ethnography. Along with theoretical papers, specific case studies will be used to address a variety of topics and issues such as social organization and social structure, spirituality and religion, bioarchaeological methods, gender, and the ethics of studying human remains. Geographically, the course will be global in scope; temporally, it will span time periods ranging from the Palaeolithic to the early 20th Century.