The Archaeology of Death and Burial
Archaeology - Anthropology
7 x 10, 256 pp.
30 b&w photos., 34 line drawings.
Pub Date: 09/01/2000
Texas A&M University Anthropology Series
  paper
Price:        $27.95 s

978-1-58544-099-3
title also available as an ebook:
More ebooks

Published by Texas A&M University Press

To Receive E-News
 
 



 
Choice Outstanding Academic Title (selected for “excellence in scholarship and presentation and for making significant contributions to its field)

The Archaeology of Death and Burial

By Mike Parker Pearson

The archaeology of death and burial is central to our attempts to understand vanished societies. Through the remains of funerary rituals we learn not only about prehistoric people's attitudes toward death and the afterlife but also about their culture, social system, and world view. This ambitious book reviews the latest research in this huge and important field and describes the sometimes controversial interpretations that have led to our understanding of life and death in the distant past.

Mike Parker Pearson draws on case studies from different periods and locations throughout the world—the Paleolithic in Europe and the Near East, the Mesolithic in northern Europe, and the Iron Age in Asia and Europe. He also uses evidence from precontact North America, ancient Egypt, and Madagascar, as well as from the Neolithic and Bronze Age in Britain and Europe, to reconstruct vivid pictures of both ancient and not so ancient funerary rituals. He describes the political and ethical controversies surrounding human remains and the problems of reburial, looting, and war crimes.

The Archaeology of Death and Burial provides a unique overview and synthesis of one of the most revealing fields of research into the past, which creates a context for several of archaeology's most breathtaking discoveries—from Tutankhamen to the Ice Man. This volume will find an avid audience among archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, and others who have a professional interest in, or general curiosity about, death and burial.

MIKE PARKER PEARSON is a lecturer in the Department of Archaeology and Prehistory at the University of Sheffield, England. His previous books include Bronze Age Britain and Architecture and Order.

What Readers Are Saying:

“The strengths of this book lie in this thematic treatment, along with the use of illustrated cross-cultural case studies, the attractive presentation, and the author’s willingness to reinterpret the material evidence and his ability to be both balanced and polemical. In general, the book is a productive resource for students seeking to come to grips with the interpretation of funerary remains . The constant reference to case studies and the extensive notes and bibliography give the reader plenty of guidance and the feeling of being part of tradition of practice. This book can be recommended as the best available introduction to the increasingly diverse archaeological studies of the social practices of death.” --Current Anthropology

“Richly illustrated with case studies and images of archaeological sites and death rituals, the volume is informed by Parker Pearson’s extensive knowledge of funeral rites past and present. ...this is a very good book, of interest to any student of archaeology and especially significant to those who investigate the history of humankind through funerary archaeology. --Journal of Anthropological Research

“He provides a comprehensive and truly international survey of burial customs. He also offers an excellent summary of ethical issues that surround the exhumation of human remains.” --Choice

“Worth the effort for those interested in the subject.” --Dallas Morning-News

“This handsomely produced book encompasses the various aspects of death and burial covering a wide array of periods in human history. It is a lucidly written work wherein the author has clearly striven to make it accessible to non-specialists in archaeology. The author’s facility with the English language makes it a delightful read even when the subject matter turns technical. . . .an appendix on how to excavate human remains, copious notes, an enrichingly detailed bibliography, and an index. . . .With the subject of this monograph being of eminent importance to the historian of religion, it can e handily used as a supplemental text in courses on the anthropology/sociology of religion as well as in a methods course. The author is to be commended for covering such a vast amount of literature and theories, for making the daunting field of archaeology approachable to the non-specialist by making a judicious use of anecdotal material, and for employing an enviable writing style. A must for all libraries.” --Religious Studies Review

“Handsomely produced book. . . It is a lucidly written work wherein the author has clearly striven to make it accessible to non-specialists in archaeology. The author’s facility with the English language makes it a delightful read even when the subject matter turns technical. . . . The author is to be commended for covering such a vast amount of literature and theories, for making the daunting field of archaeology approachable to the non-specialist by making a judicious use of anecdotal material, and for employing an enviable writing style. A must for all libraries.” --Religious Studies Review

OF RELATED INTEREST

Archaeology of Animal Bones
How War Began
Prehistory of Texas
Proto-Neolithic Cemetery in Shanidar Cave
Review Copy Request Form Desk Copy Request Form