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The Buried Soul: How Humans Invented Death


Do cannibals exist? Is there evidence for contemporary human sacrifice? What are vampires? The Buried Soul charts the story of the human response to death from prehistory to the present day. This book is a radical adventure into the sepulchral world.
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Do cannibals exist? Is there evidence for contemporary human sacrifice? What are vampires? The Buried Soul charts the story of the human response to death from prehistory to the present day. This book is a radical adventure into the sepulchral world.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Blazingly smart and deeply human.--Mary Roach, author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Cadavers

"Taylor makes sense of the ghastly and the seemingly insensible-African muti killings, human sacrifice, vampires, and triple-killed bog bodies. Archaeology was never so entertaining, and entertainment never so edifying. There is not a trite thought or lazy idea in this book."--Mary Roach, author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

"The Buried Soul is an extraordinary immersion experience . . . I had always supposed that archeology was as dry as the dust and bones it traffics in, as pedestrian as the catalogs it compiles. On the contrary, when expounded by a masterly storyteller like Taylor, it resembles psychoanalysis at its best . . . I haven't space to illustrate how ingeniously Taylor assembles his interpretations, patiently working out the barely intelligible motives and beliefs of the creatures who became us . . . Wherever else you travel, you should consider a trip into 'deep time' with The Buried Soul."--George Scialabba, Boston Globe

"Learned and impassioned . . . the lesson of Mr. Taylor's unsparing book is that . . . for most of human history, our attempts to deal with death-to appease it, master it, or simply make sense of it-have been deeply irrational and often cruel. More than any other human experience, death makes us savage."--Adam Kirsch, New York Sun

"Absorbing and challenging . . . The Buried Soul is vast, ambitious, and contentious. It ranges over two million years, from a cut-marked skull of Homo habilis to the death of a young man in 2000."--Katherine Ashenburg, American Scholar

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807046678
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 8/28/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Timothy Taylor, author of The Prehistory of Sex, has appeared on National Geographic channel and HBO as an expert in ancient cultures; he teaches in the Department of Archaeological Sciences at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom.
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Table of Contents

Introduction : sentiments and chronologies 1
Ch. 1 Ascending underground 17
Ch. 2 A skeleton illuminated by lightning 39
Ch. 3 The edible dead 56
Ch. 4 The foreign witness 86
Ch. 5 Welcome to Weirdworld 113
Ch. 6 Vexed ghosts 144
Ch. 7 Annihilation 170
Ch. 8 Beyond the Pavlov hills 193
Ch. 9 An unexpected vampire 223
Ch. 10 The singing bone 249
Conclusion : visceral insulation 273
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