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Building on the notion that human remains provide a window into the past, especially regarding identity, the contributors to this volume reflect on intentional and ritualized practices of manipulating the human head within ancient societies. These essays explore the human head’s symbolic role in political, social, economic, and religious ritual over the centuries.

By focusing on the various ways in which the head was treated at the time of death, as well as before and following, scholars uncover the significant social meaning of such treatment. This illuminating collection highlights biological and cultural manipulations of human heads, ultimately revealing whose skulls and heads were collected and why, whether as ancestors or enemies, as insiders or outsiders, as males, females, or children.

Featuring a wealth of case studies from scholars across the globe, this volume emphasizes social identity and the use of the body in ritual, making it particularly helpful to all those interested in the cross-cultural handling of skulls and heads.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. List of Figures
  2. pp. vii-x
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  1. Tables
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Foreword
  2. pp. xiii-xvi
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  1. Preface
  2. p. xvii
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  1. 1. Contextualizing the Human Head: An Introduction
  2. pp. 1-48
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  1. Part 1. Symbolic and Contextual Approaches
  2. p. 49
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  1. 2. Heads as Memorials and Status Symbols: The Collection and Use of Skulls in the Torres Strait Islands
  2. pp. 51-66
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  1. 3. Melanesian Modeled Skulls, Mortuary Ritual, and Dental X-Rays: Ancestors, Enemies, Women, and Children
  2. pp. 67-96
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  1. 4. Marquesan Trophy Skulls: Description, Osteological Analyses, and Changing Motivations in the South Pacific
  2. pp. 97-121
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  1. 5. The Social Lives of Severed Heads: Skull Collection and Display in Medieval and Early Modern Ireland
  2. pp. 122-138
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  1. Part 2. Bioarchaeological and Biochemical Approaches
  2. p. 139
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  1. 7. Biohistory and Cranial Morphology: A Forensic Case from Spanish Colonial Georgia
  2. pp. 179-201
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  1. 8. Skull Deformation during the Iron Age in the Trans-Urals and Western Siberia
  2. pp. 202-227
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  1. 9. Marking Ethnicity through Premortem Cranial Modification among the Pre-Inca Chiribaya, Peru
  2. pp. 228-240
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  1. 10. Getting a Head Start in Life: Pre-Columbian Maya Cranial Modification from Infancy to Ancestorhood
  2. pp. 241-261
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  1. 11. How the Wari Fashioned Trophy Heads for Display: A Distinctive Modified Cranium from Cuzco, Peru, and Comparison to Trophies from the Capital Region
  2. pp. 262-285
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  1. 12. Nasca Trophy Head Origins and Ancient DNA
  2. pp. 286-306
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  1. List of Contributors
  2. pp. 307-308
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 309-323
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  1. Series List
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813048185
Related ISBN
9780813035567
MARC Record
OCLC
801841528
Pages
340
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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