The bones of the ancestors as inalienable possessions: A bioarchaeologial persepctive

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Abstract

Ancient Maya mortuary practices provide crucial insight into how communities created and reproduced social memory and identity. In this chapter, I critically evaluate the concept of inalienable possessions in relationship to tomb contents, with particular focus on the body of the deceased and burial location. The concept of inalienability is evaluated using ethnographic and ethnohistoric accounts of Maya worldview and archaeological data from the Chan site, an ancient Maya farming community in west central Belize. The concept of inalienable possessions is a potentially useful heuristic for understanding the mechanisms by which social memory was created through materials placed in tombs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-65
Number of pages12
JournalArcheological Papers of the American Anthropological Association
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2013

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