Sunday, August 26, 2007

Online book: Performing Death

Oriental Institute News

The OI has released a list of new online publications on the above page. Amongst them is this title edited by Nicola Laneri entitled Performing Death: Social Analyses of Funerary Traditions in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean. It is available in printable PDF format at the following address:

One of the articles is a fascinating look at First Dynasty burial traditions, including the sacrificial death and burial of retainers: Sacrifice for the State: First Dyansty Royal Funerals and the rites at Macramallah's Rectangle by Ellen F. Morris, Columbia University (pages 15-37).

The book is available in hard copy if preferred, from Oxbow Books, where it is described as follows:

This volume represents a collection of contributions presented by the authors during the Second Annual University of Chicago Oriental Institute Seminar "Performing Death: Social Analyses of Funerary Traditions in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean," held at the Oriental Institute, February 17-18, 2006. The principal aim of the two-day seminar was to interpret the social relevance resulting from the enactment of funerary rituals within the broad-reaching Mediterranean basin from prehistoric periods to the Roman age. Efforts were concentrated on creating a panel composed of scholars with diverse backgrounds -- anthropologists, historians, archaeologists, art historians, and philologists -- and the knowledge and expertise to enrich the discussion through the presentation of case-studies linked to both textual and archaeological evidences from the Mediterranean region. Fundamental to the successful realization of this research process was the active dialogue between scholars of different backgrounds. These communicative exchanges provided the opportunity to integrate different approaches and interpretations concerning the role played by the performance of ancient funerary rituals within a given society and, as a result, helped in defining a coherent outcome towards the interpretation of ancient communities' behaviors.

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