The paper aims at providing theoretical models and data interpretation applied to multiple burials. Challenging the current fuzzy definition of multiple burials in ancient societies, the paper proposes a more accurate classification of multiple burials, with particular reference to ancient Egypt funerary culture, based on two main parameters, which may have influenced the association of bodies: p1) architecture; p2) time span, and three flexible sub-parameters that may be used to customize different scenarios, on occasion: sp1) number of deceased; sp2) age of deceased; sp3) nature of death/deposition. The body has been often considered the real ontological centre of the burial itself with all of the other countable objects intended as radiating projections supporting the body-nucleus. The practice of multiple burials disrupts such a perception as it juxtaposes horizontal, multidirectional perspectives: the role of a new body entering among older bodies and objects, and of the multiple bodies and objects themselves. The study of multiple burials, if correctly framed, can lead to insights into different religious, social, and economic reasons behind the mortuary programmes within a society. For instance, sequential multiple burials reinforce the transformation of dead bodies into part of the burial equipment itself, reducing the centrality of the body and disrupting the narrative tied to individual biographies, increasing an ‘artefactual’ perception.

Multiple Burials in Ancient Societies: Theory and Methods from Egyptian Archaeology

Miniaci, Gianluca
2018

Abstract

The paper aims at providing theoretical models and data interpretation applied to multiple burials. Challenging the current fuzzy definition of multiple burials in ancient societies, the paper proposes a more accurate classification of multiple burials, with particular reference to ancient Egypt funerary culture, based on two main parameters, which may have influenced the association of bodies: p1) architecture; p2) time span, and three flexible sub-parameters that may be used to customize different scenarios, on occasion: sp1) number of deceased; sp2) age of deceased; sp3) nature of death/deposition. The body has been often considered the real ontological centre of the burial itself with all of the other countable objects intended as radiating projections supporting the body-nucleus. The practice of multiple burials disrupts such a perception as it juxtaposes horizontal, multidirectional perspectives: the role of a new body entering among older bodies and objects, and of the multiple bodies and objects themselves. The study of multiple burials, if correctly framed, can lead to insights into different religious, social, and economic reasons behind the mortuary programmes within a society. For instance, sequential multiple burials reinforce the transformation of dead bodies into part of the burial equipment itself, reducing the centrality of the body and disrupting the narrative tied to individual biographies, increasing an ‘artefactual’ perception.
Miniaci, Gianluca
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/937156
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