Breathing New Life Into the Evidence of Death

Short Seminar

September 11–12, 2008

Breathing New Life Into the Evidence of DeathBreathing New Life Into the Evidence of DeathCo-chaired by Aubrey Baadsgaard, Assistant Curator, Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Alexis Boutin, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania; and Jane E. Buikstra, Professor of Bioarchaeology, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State UniversityBreathing New Life Into the Evidence of DeathCo-chaired by Aubrey Baadsgaard, Assistant Curator, Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Alexis Boutin, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania; and Jane E. Buikstra, Professor of Bioarchaeology, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University

This short seminar furthered an initiative begun by Aubrey Baadsgaard and Alexsis Boutin in 2007 with a symposium held during the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. That symposium gave bioarchaeologists from different institutions, working on different research materials, a chance to showcase their latest techniques, methods, and theoretical perspectives for advancing a thoroughly contextualized understanding and interpretation of mortuary evidence. The SAR seminar was “an ideal forum for organizing and facilitating the continued scholarly discourse and fine tuning necessary to transform the conference symposium into a peer-reviewed, edited publication,” wrote the co-chairs. “By demonstrating that the skeletal body is a nexus of archaeological, social, and biological contexts, this volume will be an important contribution to the field of bioarchaeology and of interest to a broad range of anthropological inquiry.”

“The ideas flying around the room were so abundant and intriguing that we had enough material to publish an entire series,” said the co-chairs, “but we managed to whittle them down to several themes, including how to interpret variation at multiple scales, with an emphasis on similarity versus difference; the life-death continuum (rather than dichotomy); lived embodiment and archaeologies of identity; the contemporary sociopolitical effects of bioarchaeological research; and materiality in the mortuary record.”

This seminar was generously supported by the Annenberg Conversations Endowment.

Aubrey Baadsgaard, Chair Assistant Curator, Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Mortuary Dress as Material Culture
Alexis Boutin, Chair Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania Embodying Life and Death: An Osteobiographical Narrative of the Plastered Tomb from Alalakh
Jane E. Buikstra, Chair Professor of Bioarchaeology, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University
Pamela Geller Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology/Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Miami The Sacrifices We Make of and for our Children: Making Sense of Pre-Columbian Maya Practices
Christopher J. Knüsel Senior Lecturer in Biological Anthropology, Anthropology Sciences, University of Bradford, Bradford, England Humeral Medial Epicondylar Avulsion Fracture in the Archaeological Record: Sex and Status Distinctions
Maria Cecilia Lozada Research Associate, Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago
Susan Pollock Professor, Department of Anthropology, Binghamton University Making a Difference: Mortuary Practices in Halaf Times
John Robb Senior Lecturer, Department of Archaeology, Cambridge University, United Kingdom Creating Death: A Post-Constructivist Approach to the “Archaeology of Death"
Rachel E. Scott Associate Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University
Ann L. W. Stodder Senior Scientist/Bioarchaeology, SWCA Environmental Consultants Iconography and Power in Sepik Skull Art
Christina Torres-Rouff Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Colorado College Piercing the Body: Labret Use and Masculinity in Prehistoric Chile

Sponsored by The Annenberg Foundation

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