Austronesian Mortuary Ritual in History: Transformations of Secondary Burial ( Famadihana ) in Highland Madagascar
Abstract

This article identifies historical transformations in the fluid and regionally varied secondary burials, or famadihana, of highland Madagascar. While secondary burials were known during the early nineteenth century, most mortuary ritual at that time focused on primary interment. From the 1820s practices of secondary burial re-emerged from long-distance repatriation of soldiers' remains and from ceremonies of tomb-to-tomb transfer as kin built new sepulchres of stone. Because they consumed time, energy, significant financial resources and tended to strengthen local networks of loyalty and authority, famadihana and the persons who practiced them came into conflict with highland Malagasy royalty from the reign of Radama I.


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