Edeltraud Aspöck will also visit the EAA 2014 in Istanbul and present a paper in session T06S025 Chasing Death Ways: new methods, techniques and practices in documenting and interpreting the funerary record, organised by Hayley Mickleburgh, Dr. Karina Gerdau Radonic, Rita Peyroteo Stjerna, Mari Tõrv.
Paper title will be:
The (micro)taphonomy of reopened graves
Abstract: It is frequently the case that human remains which have been buried in graves are not left to ‘rest in peace’ eternally. There are a wide range of documented historical and ethnographical reasons and circumstances for the reopening of graves. For example, graves have been reopened as part of funerary rituals, for the removal of grave goods or body parts for symbolic reasons, as part of ancestral rites, or simply in order to be ‘robbed’ for materialistic reasons.
Understanding the reasons behind the reopening is often limited by a lack of understanding of the archaeological record. The methodological object of my post-doc project is to develop a new taphonomy-based method for the archaeological analysis of reopened graves. In this paper I will present preliminary results of the project, focusing on the results of my fieldwork on a reopened early Bronze Age inhumation grave in Austria. A bundle of methods has been applied, including archaeothanathology, single finds recording, soil analysis (micromorphology). The suitability of the applied methods for understanding the formation and the reopening of the grave will be discussed.