Death and Dying in the Neolithic Near East

Hardcover | July 30, 2012

byKarina Croucher

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The Neolithic of the Near East is a period of human development which saw fundamental changes in the nature of human society. It is traditionally studied for its development of domestication, agriculture, and growing social complexity. In this book Karina Croucher takes a new approach,focusing on the human body and investigating mortuary practices - the treatment and burial of the dead - to discover what these can reveal about the people of the Neolithic Near East. The remarkable evidence relating to mortuary practices and ritual behaviour from the Near Eastern Neolithic provides some of the most breath-taking archaeological evidence excavated from Neolithic contexts. The most enigmatic mortuary practices of the period produced the striking 'plastered skulls',faces modelled onto the crania of the deceased. Archaeological sites also contain evidence for many intriguing mortuary treatments, including decapitated burials and the fragmentation, circulation, curation, and reburial of human and animal remains and material culture. Drawing on recent excavations and earlier archive and published fieldwork, Croucher provides an overview and introduction to the period, presenting new interpretations of the archaeological evidence and in-depth analyses of case studies. The book explores themes such as ancestors, human-animalrelationships, food, consumption and cannibalism, personhood, and gender. Offering a unique insight into changing attitudes towards the human body - both in life and during death - this book reveals the identities and experiences of the people of the Neolithic Near East through their interactions with their dead, with animals, and their new material worlds.

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The Neolithic of the Near East is a period of human development which saw fundamental changes in the nature of human society. It is traditionally studied for its development of domestication, agriculture, and growing social complexity. In this book Karina Croucher takes a new approach,focusing on the human body and investigating mortua...

Karina Croucher is currently completing a three-year Postdoctoral Fellowship in Archaeology with the British Academy, based at Manchester University. Her research has focused on mortuary practices, human bodies, and identities during the prehistory of Southwest Asia anf the Near East.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:376 pagesPublished:July 30, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199693951

ISBN - 13:9780199693955

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Table of Contents

List of figuresNotes for readerPreface and acknowledgements1. Introduction: death and dying2. The Neolithic Near East: an overview3. Interpretation and practice4. Plastered skulls, ancestors and the skull cult5. Gender6. Personhood, identity and the dead7. ConclusionBibliographyIndex