The Archaeology of Ancestors
Death, Memory, and Veneration

Edited by Erica Hill and Jon B. Hageman

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“Reinforces the importance of thinking about ancestors, and their complexity and variability in the past.”—Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
"A must-have for anyone interested in the role of ancestors in past and present societies."—Mercourios Georgiadis, author of Kos in the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age: The Halasarna Finds and the Aegean Settlement Pattern

"Ancestor veneration and manipulation are of great importance to our understanding of societies past and present. This volume will become a standard reference work for academics and students alike."—Nicola Harrington, author of Living with the Dead: Ancestor Worship and Mortuary Ritual in Ancient Egypt

Contributors to this landmark volume demonstrate that ancestor veneration was about much more than claiming property rights: the spirits of the dead were central to domestic disputes, displays of wealth, and power and status relationships. Case studies from China, Africa, Europe, and Mesoamerica use the evidence of art, architecture, ritual, and burial practices to explore the complex roles of ancestors in the past. Including a comprehensive overview of nearly two hundred years of anthropological research, The Archaeology of Ancestors reveals how and why societies remember and revere the dead. Through analyses of human remains, ritual deposits, and historical documents, contributors explain how ancestors were woven into the social fabric of the living.

Erica Hill, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Alaska Southeast, is coeditor of the Alaska Journal of Anthropology. Jon B. Hageman is associate professor of anthropology at Northeastern Illinois University.
Contributors: Carla Antonaccio| Roderick Campbell| Jon B. Hageman| Erica Hill| Charles Mather| Matthew L. Murray| Estella Weiss-Krejci
Sample Chapter(s):
Table of Contents

An exceptionally coherent collection of papers that ranges over a wide variety of historical, archaeological, and ethnographic examples....A genuinely comparative (and so collaborative) intellectual enterprise.
--European Journal of Archaeology

Persuasively argues that ancestors have been central to human existence and thus warrant a far more coherent research program than they have thus far received.
--Journal of Anthropological Research

This excellent edited volume brings together ethnographic and archaeological studies of ancestor practices to present a long-overdue and useful synthesis for funerary archaeologists.
--American Antiquity

A pointed collection. . . . This volume effectively argues for the continued centrality of archaeologists’ engagement with the role of ancestors and their associated ritual practice and material culture in past societies.
--Historical Archaeology

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