Armchair Archaeothanatology: Post-Excavation Archaeothanatology in the Caribbean

Author(s): Hayley Mickleburgh

Year: 2015


Archaeothanatology is increasingly important in the study of mortuary practices, as it allows us to study aspects of mortuary behaviour that were traditionally hard to assess. However, the archaeothanatological approach entails a detailed and very time-consuming excavation and documentation methodology that requires thorough training. Increasingly refined excavation and documentation methods have clear advantages for our understanding of the mortuary record, but there is a danger of rendering data from older excavations incomparable. Some recent studies have shown that post-excavation analysis can provide valuable archaeothanatological data, using photographs and field drawings. This paper presents case studies from the precolonial Caribbean, of excavations that were carried without the archaeothanatological approach in mind, and assesses valuable archaeothanatological data may be derived post-excavation. These data are compared to those derived from archaeothanatological investigations in the region, and some suggestions are made for the development of guidelines for post-excavation archaeothanatology.

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Armchair Archaeothanatology: Post-Excavation Archaeothanatology in the Caribbean. Hayley Mickleburgh. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398250)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;