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

Author(s): Karina Croucher

Year: 2017


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.

Cite this Record

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