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Title: An investigation of extraordinary human body disposals, with special reference to necrophobia : a multi-disciplinary analysis with case studies from Greece and cross-cultural comparisons
Author: Tsaliki, Anastasia
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2008
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This project investigates in depth and from a multi-disciplinary perspective the phenomenon of deviant burials and anomalous disposal of the dead with emphasis on necrophobia (fear of the dead; the term is introduced by the author for use in the disciplines of anthropology and archaeology). A list of criteria and a recording form for the identification of deviancy in burial contexts have been compiled and are suggested as a potential general methodology scheme. Theories of death, deviancy, and necrophobia are examined and are elaborated with case studies from Greece and cross-cultural comparison data. The project also evaluates whether the burial or disposal context and the physical condition & health status of the body are related, if their analysis reveals information on the individual's social status in life and death, and how necrophobia influences burial customs. An attempt has been made to: 1. Explain the deviant treatment of human remains considering and combining the burial customs, socio-religious factors including superstitious beliefs and social violence, burial context, and the palaeodemographical & palaeopathological data;2. Give emphasis to the concept of necrophobia and to its relation to cases of unusual burial treatment;3. Investigate temporal and spatial patterns of deviancy in the burial record;4. Emphasise the need for precise recording of burials and their context;5. Identify the limitations of the project. The project provides a novel multidisciplinary approach to the study of deviancy and necrophobia in the burial record; such a study has not, to the author’s knowledge, previously been conducted on as wide a scale against a detailed contextual background, and it is the first comprehensive study on Greek unusual burials. The research has potential for future development through the study of additional empirical data from different cultures & periods, and its theory and methodology may have forensic applications. Isotope analysis of the deviant individuals is also suggested as a method to provide information on diet and place of origin.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available