chapter  2
25 Pages

THE NATURE OF AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL HUMAN BONE ASSEMBLAGE

There are many ways to dispose of a dead body. The great variety of funerary practices used routinely by human groups around the world bears witness to this (Kroeber 1927; Ucko 1969; Parker Pearson, 1999). Many of these, such as disposal in rivers, exposure in trees or on platforms, or abandoning the corpse to be eaten by wild animals, would leave little trace in the archaeological record. Only if ancient funerary rituals culminated in the burial of human remains beneath the soil, or within a tomb, would they usually survive down the centuries to be studied by archaeologists.