The Bioarchaeology of the Human Head: Decapitation, Decoration, and Deformation

The Bioarchaeology of the Human Head: Decapitation, Decoration, and Deformation

by Michelle Bonogofsky
     
 

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Building on the notion that human remains provide a window into the past, especially regarding identity, the contributors to this volume reflect on intentional and ritualized practices of manipulating the human head within ancient societies. These essays explore the human head's symbolic role in political, social, economic, and religious ritual over the

Overview

Building on the notion that human remains provide a window into the past, especially regarding identity, the contributors to this volume reflect on intentional and ritualized practices of manipulating the human head within ancient societies. These essays explore the human head's symbolic role in political, social, economic, and religious ritual over the centuries.
By focusing on the various ways in which the head was treated at the time of death, as well as before and following, scholars uncover the significant social meaning of such treatment. This illuminating collection highlights biological and cultural manipulations of human heads, ultimately revealing whose skulls and heads were collected and why, whether as ancestors or enemies, as insiders or outsiders, as males, females, or children.
Featuring a wealth of case studies from scholars across the globe, this volume emphasizes social identity and the use of the body in ritual, making it particularly helpful to all those interested in the cross-cultural handling of skulls and heads.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A welcome addition to the growing literature seeking to bring together symbolic and scientific studies of the human body.”—Journal of Anthropological Research

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813035567
Publisher:
University Press of Florida
Publication date:
04/24/2011
Series:
Bioarchaeological Interpretations of the Human Past: Local, Regional, and Global
Edition description:
First
Pages:
346
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Michelle Bonogofsky is visiting scholar at the Archaeological Research Facility, University of California, Berkeley.

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