DivMeanBody: an exploration in the construction of the prehistoric body and identity

DivMeanBody project based at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge is designed as an exploration in the construction of the prehistoric body and identity, by studying the post-mortem fate of human remains discovered in Neolithic settlements in the Balkan area (between 7th-4th millennia BC).

These settlements have yielded collections of disarticulated, fragmentary, and scattered human remains. Traditionally such human remains have been either a focus of osteological studies, looking at them in a biological dimension, or subjected to cultural analysis. The project aims at taking a multi-disciplinary comparative perspective, that cuts across the traditions of archaeology and osteology, towards the re-interpretation of such deposits. By developing a taphonomic perspective on the formation of these deposits I aim to establish whether these are deliberate depositions or more complex, including non-cultural processes, might explain this fragmentation. The beginnings of settlements, agriculture and the Neolithic way of life are marked by such funerary practices, and studying them is integral to understanding past ways of life and cultures. Through its aims, DivMeanBody will help us better understand how these past people were performing and dealing with the dynamic processes of life and death in their communities and the relation of these practices to the formation of archaeological deposits. In the same time, it will surpass the divide present in contemporary research between a biological body (studied by osteology) and a cultural body (by archaeology).

The results of DivMeanBody will bring an original contribution that can challenge contemporary distinctions between domestic-funerary space, whole bodies-fragmentary parts, the world of the living-the realm of the dead. It will also create links between categories of archaeological material which are otherwise interpreted separately and thus offer new insights into what being human meant in the past.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 701230

Source base map: https://mapsengine.google.com/map

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DivMeanBody: o investigatie a modului in care s-au construit corpurile si identitatile preistorice

Proiectul DivMeanBody din cadrul McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge este gandit ca o explorare a modurilor in care au fost construite corpurile si identitatile preistorice, prin studierea destinului post-mortem al osemintelor umane descoperite in asezari neolitice din zona Balcanilor (mileniile VII-IV i.e.n.).

In aceste asezari au fost descoperite colectii de oseminte umane fragmentare, care au fost in mod traditional analizate in cadrul unor studii de osteologie (privite in dimensiunea biologica), sau au devenit subiect al unor interpretari culturale. Scopul proiectului este acela de a reinterpreta asemenea descoperiri dintr-o perspectiva comparativa multi-disciplinara, care depaseste granita dintre arheologie si osteologie. Adoptand o perspectiva tafonomica pentru intelegerea modului in care depunerile s-au format, doresc sa inteleg daca acestea sunt depuneri intentionate, sau daca alte procese mai complexe (inclusiv de ordin natural) au stat in spatele lor. Inceputurile asezarilor, agriculturii si al modurilor de viata neolitice sunt marcate de asemenea practici astfel incat studierea lor este o parte integranta a intelegerii culturilor preistorice. O astfel de analiza ne poate ajuta sa intelegem mai bine modul in care oamenii trecutului intelegeau procesele dinamice ale vietii si mortii, precum si relatia acestor procese cu formarea depunerilor arheologice. In acelasi timp, cercetarea isi propune sa depaseasca diviziunea prezenta in cercetarea contemporana intre un corp biologic (studiat de osteologie) si un corp cultural (studiat de arheologie).

Sursa hartii de baza: https://mapsengine.google.com/map

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