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Pitt ANTH 0538 - Lecture 8 and 9

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1/29/15I. Burial Treatment and social divisionsa. No sharp breaks among commoners in treatments = gradient of status differencesb. Qualitative break between commoner and royal treatment = social divide between royalty and everyone elseII. What would today’s archeologist do differently?a. Much more rigori=ous investigation (sampling, multidisciplinary, more thorough documentation)i. Study and keep all materialii. Skeletal material to:1. Determine age/sex structure of burial pop2. Bioarcheology, paleopathology3. Biological relationships (DNA)b. Pay more attention of soil filling the Death Pits (the “tomb fill”)i. Sequence of deposition reveal time, episodes in Stage 3c. Sample for botanical remains (pollen reveal season of burial)d. Grave goods – history and usei. Made for the grave or actually used1. Wear patternsii. Vessels = containers1. Vessels not the offerings, but hold the offerings2. What ritual purpose of putting empty containers into the tomb?a. How can we study what is contained?i. Wooley report – food remains visible in 9 jars from commoner tombs1. 1 unidentified plant2. Bone3. Cow bone fragments4. Date pitsii. 1978 – microscopic analysis of soil samples from vessels from Puabi’s tombs1. Woolley didn’t take soil samples2. Breads, pig, dates, sheep, fish, goat,veggiesiii. Lot of grave goods (food remains + cauldrons + cups, bowls & knives) = funerary feastingiv. Other death feast clues1. Drinking vessels in Death Pits in hands of dead, or held near mouth2. Can compare to “banquet scenes” of Sumerian art grave vessels same type as shown at banquetse. Arrangement of bodies replicate a banquet?i. “Tableu mort”: an image created with the dead; use of the dead to stage a sceneii. Deceased meant to be seen as participating in a royal banquet?iii. Banquet scene cylinder on body in Death Pit 1237 – dancers and musicians; two children depicted, one child found in the Death Pitf. Textual evidence for funeral feastsi. Clay tabletii. Standard burial fee: 7 jars, 420 loaves of bread, 120 quarts of barley1. Some to priests and gravediggers as payment2. Some placed in grave3. Remainder consumed at funeralIII. Pay More attention to how Dead dresseda. Most non-container grave goods are clothing, jewelry, items of adornment (stuff worn of the person)b. Extreme range in how dead dressed – would have been a very visual aspect of funeralc. Does elaboration of dress express social position?i. Sumerian art1. Standard of Ur captives shown naked captors always dressed2. Rulers are identifiable by elaborate headwear, hairstylesd. Powerful, elite wear more jewelryi. Queen Puabi’s jewelry would have weighed 14 poundsii. Written clues (cuniforms)1. 2 concepts from textual sourcesa. Hi-li: “looking good” – washed, dressed, perfumed (Ex. Uramma, son of Ninsuna)b. Me: divine powers, cant be embodied in clothes, adornmenti. “She assumed me”2/3/15iii. Nakedness = Powerlessness1. Elite: powerful jewels dressed2. Commoners: weak, no jewels, naked3. Explains choice of grave goods4. Attention paid to dresse. In Sumerian Society, clothing express differencesi. Most grave goods (clothing) therefore = symbolic of powerIV. Where attempts made to embalm Death Pit bodies?a. To allow for prolonged funeral ceremoniesi. Bodies were heated to partially cooked1. Baadsgard: heating resulting in discoloration2. Alternative Interpretation: discoloration from diagenesis (chemical changes) or post excavation preservation3. Woolley, Layard, Smith, & Jones: Uptake in managanese which makes the bodies look dark (chemical change)4. Bones do not shatter as suggested by Mollenseii. Smeared with Mercury sulfide (cinnabar)1. Baadsgard: metallic substance surrounding the hard tissues of female skull2. Alternative: seeing make-up left over containing cinnabarV. Sumerian notions of deatha. Body: Corpse and Soulb. Soul of the dead go to Netherworld (Underworld, land of no return)i. 3rd level below where the soul makes its way downii. Netherworld ruled by Nergal1. Dark, eat mold and dust, dismal, hardships (souls exist like “wretched birds”2. But, Dead not need food or possessions in the Netherworld3. But, can the dead buy better conditions with gifts to Nergal?4. Netherworld separated from rest of world by a river (Hubar River)5. To get there, the soul would take a journey across the Barren Desert, to the river, take a Boat across the river with boatman “Vishanabi”6. Lamastu, Pazuzu, Dumuzi were dangerous demonic creatures in the Barren desert, among many othersiii. What do they need to travel?1. Weapons and provisions (carts, chests, boats, toiletries if royalty, musicians, games)iv. The dead depends on the living1. Proper burial (with rites)a. Placement in ground to start the journeyb. Traveling stuff (as grave goods)2. Ceremonies in which the names of the dead pronouncedaloud3. The dead soul is extremely dependent on survivors, and survivors have great obligationsa. If survivors don’t fulfill these, the soul of the dead might wander miserably and spitefully on Earth, harming people (Berawan understand)4. Prevent the dead from sinking into obliviona. Dead spirit might become angry and return to Earth as an angry


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