White bones in black caves: cave burials and social memory

Author(s): Agni Prijatelj

Year: 2017


White bones in black caves: cave burials and social memory

Caves have always been part of contemporary, living landscapes: as such, they have acted not only as natural, cultural, social, economic and ritual places, but also as political locales. One of the most recent, and contested, examples of this phenomenon in Slovenia is the use of karstic shafts as sites of post-war executions between May 1945 and January 1946, in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Such sites of mass executions are used as a starting point of this paper in exploring the tensions between cave burials and social memory. More specifically, particular caves are examined in relation to local knowledge, identity, storytelling and the tensions between public remembering and forgetting. The findings of the historical and ethnographic research are then used to reflect on selected examples of historic and prehistoric cave burials, their relation to place-power, local identity and social memory, with the aim to demonstrate the need to re-think many of traditional archaeological interpretations.

Cite this Record

White bones in black caves: cave burials and social memory. Agni Prijatelj. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429386)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15855