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Living with the Dead: Plastered Skulls and ‘Continuing Bonds’

Author(s): Karina Croucher

Year: 2017

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This paper considers the phenomenon of plastered skulls from the Neolithic of the Middle East, exploring a re-interpretation of evidence. Plastered skulls result from the burial and later retrieval of crania, onto which is sculpted a face using plaster. These were then used and displayed within household contexts. Rather than traditional interpretations which revolve around status and hierarchy or social cohesion, this paper suggests a reinterpretation based on the modern bereavement theory of ‘continuing bonds’. This paper suggests that grief and mourning may be a more appropriate explanation for the phenomenon, and examines the role that contemporary theories of grief might play in the interpretation of (some) ancient funerary remains.

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Living with the Dead: Plastered Skulls and ‘Continuing Bonds’. Karina Croucher. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429245)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15288

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America