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Lecture 30 Part 1 – Burials

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Anthropology 2229F/G
Christopher Ellis

Lecture 30 Part 1 – Burials  Archaeologists don’t just dig up graves!  Certain things that we can find out through burials that aren’t present anywhere else o Social aspects: e.g. sexual division of labour  1. Grave Locus/Location o Where are the graves located and what is there distribution? o Can give a number of clues of the status of individuals o Three kinds of burials:  True cemeteries  Not amongst the debris  Spatial areas for the deceased and carrying out the appropriate rituals  Special area dedicated to burial and burial rituals  Burial plots/grounds  Multiple individuals but not true cemeteries  Areas not set aside specifically for burying the deceased  Often not marked, just buried within the occupation area  Individual burials  Usually just one or two individuals, not recognized as a burial area o Tie into social aspects in many ways  Associated with tribes  ranked societies, not in band societies  Result of higher population densities, more restrictions on movement and much more territorial  Cemeteries are a symbolic expression  Even expression of greater territoriality – burial of ancestors (people from whom you gained your status, etc.)  Very powerful expression of territorial control  Marked with distinctive markers, mounds, etc.  People not necessarily buried in the ground, could be on scaffolds, etc.  Might not appear in the archaeological record  Depends on redundancy of land use, how often the people come back  E.g. entrenched mobility  Can get at:  What makes you a person in that society o Not everyone ends up in the cemeteries, could be because of status or what it means to be a member of that society (“personhood”) o E.g. in some societies you don’t find infants or the very young, haven’t achieved anything in
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