Session: #210

Theme & Session Format

Archaeological theory and methods beyond paradigms
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Methodological Developments in Funerary Taphonomy
Taphonomy has been an emerging field since the 1940s, with an increased focus on method and development from the 1980s onwards. Funerary taphonomy provides taphonomic evidence of the treatment of the dead, yielding exceptionally detailed information on mortuary practice in the past. Careful consideration of taphonomic evidence and integration with theoretical developments in the field of the archaeology of death and burial can shed light on the rich spectrum of human responses to death and interactions with the dead body in past societies. This session aims to bring together perspectives on a wide range of taphonomic methods that can be used to increase our understanding of the broad scope of variation in the treatment of the dead. By inviting papers with a strong basis in both empirical data and social theory, the session strives to transcend the disciplinary divide between the humanities and natural sciences in the study of archaeological mortuary contexts.

Research papers discussing recent developments within fields such as archaeothanatology, digital archaeology, histotaphonomy, biotaphonomy, geotaphonomy, actualistic studies of cadavers and forensic archaeology, with the aim to improve, evaluate and/or standardize existing methods applied to the taphonomic study of human mortuary contexts are particularly encouraged. We invite authors to actively reflect on how these new insights can contribute to our understanding of mortuary practices in the past.
Funerary taphonomy, Archaeothanatology, Archaeology of Death and Burial, Actualistic taphonomy, new method development and standardization
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
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Main organiser:
Hayley Mickleburgh (Netherlands) 1,2
Clara Alfsdotter (Sweden) 3
Liv Nilsson Stutz (Sweden) 3
1. Independant
2. Texas State University
3. Linnaeus University