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The social implications of death in prehistoric Malta

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Malone, Caroline 
McLaughlin, Rowan 
Mercieca-Spiteri, Bernadette 
Power, Ronika 


This article seeks to follow the social implications of death in the context of prehistoric Malta, more specifically the Tarxien phase of the Late Neolithic (c. 2900 2350 BC), addressing questions posed by the original conference such as the following; how many individuals were buried together, their spatial context and the timing of their deposition. In addition, the article will seek to investigate how the dead were treated, who were buried and why they were buried together. As a guide to this intent, selective ethnographies will be deployed, bringing into play the evidence of the Younge site from Michigan in the light of ethnographic accounts of the Feast of the Dead which are reported elsewhere in this volume. The present work is a product of a broadly Anglo-Saxon perspective, although conscious of the methodological approaches of the anthropologie de terrain (Duday 1978; 2009), most closely followed by one of us (Thompson). The article will also include some self-reflexive ethnography, as the important deposit of the Brochtorff Xagħra Circle on the island of Gozo undergoes new interrogation some twenty years after its original excavation.



Journal Title

Aegis Archéologie du monde minoen

Conference Name

Gathered in death

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Presses universitaires de Louvain
AHRC (1651917)
AHRC (1651917)