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The Funeral Kit: Mortuary Practices in the Archaeological Recordby Jill L. Baker
Synopses & Reviews
Studies of mortuary archaeology tend to focus on difference—how the researcher can identify age, gender, status, and ethnicity from the contents of a burial. Jill L. Bakers innovative approach begins from the opposite point: how can you recognize the commonalities of a culture from the “funeral kit” that occurs in all burials, irrespective of status differences? And what do those commonalities have to say about the world view and religious beliefs of that culture? Baker begins with the Middle and Late Bronze Age tombs in the southern Levant, then expands her scope in ever widening circles to create a general model of the funeral kit of use to archaeologists in a wide variety of cultures and settings. The volume will be of equal value to specialists in Near Eastern archaeology and those who study mortuary remains in ancient cultures worldwide.
Book News Annotation:
The author of this work takes a non-traditional approach to interpreting tomb architecture, the use of interior space, and grave goods by focusing on patterns of similarity among internments in the chamber tombs of Bronze Age Canaan. What the author calls the 'funeral kit' is a relatively predictable set of grave goods that was repeatedly deposited with most burials of the period. The presence of the funeral kit offers insight into the worldview and beliefs of those who performed the funeral ceremony and burial, relative to the needs of the spirit and each culture's afterlife scenarios. Illustrated with b&w photos and illustrations, the book will be of interest to specialists in Near Eastern archaeology and those who study mortuary remains in ancient cultures around the world. Baker holds a PhD from Brown University. Her research on Canaanite mortuary practices appears in the journal Levant. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Jill L. Bakers innovative approach to mortuary archaeology begins by identifying commonalities of a culture from the “funeral kit” that occurs in all of its burials, using examples from the Ancient Near East and comparing it to other cultures.
About the Author
Jill L. Baker earned a Ph.D. from Brown University and is an independent scholar of Near Eastern Archaeology, based in Miami, Florida. She has taught at the University of Miami, held fellowships at the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, and has worked on several excavations including the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon and at Tel Zahara. Her research on Canaanite mortuary practices also appears in two articles published in the journal Levant.
Table of Contents
List of Figures Preface Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: The Archaeology of Death and Burial: Established Interpretations, Terminologies and Definitions Chapter 3: The Funeral Kit Model Chapter 4: Beyond the Model: The Funeral Kit in Wider Canaan (Middle Bronze IIB/C-Late Bronze Age II) Chapter 5: The Genesis and Extinction of the Funeral Kit in Canaan Chapter 6: Beyond Canaan: The Funeral Kit in Wider Geographical and Chronological Contexts Chapter 7: Theory and Practice Chapter 8: The Ties That Bind References Index About the Author
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