“A must-have for anyone interested in the role of ancestors in past and present societies.”–Mercourios Georgiadis, author of Kos in the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age: The Halasarna Finds and the Aegean Settlement Pattern
“Ancestor veneration and manipulation are of great importance to our understanding of societies past and present. This volume will become a standard reference work for academics and students alike.”–Nicola Harrington, author of Living with the Dead: Ancestor Worship and Mortuary Ritual in Ancient Egypt
Contributors to this landmark volume demonstrate that ancestor veneration was about much more than claiming property rights: the spirits of the dead were central to domestic disputes, displays of wealth, and power and status relationships. Case studies from China, Africa, Europe, and Mesoamerica use the evidence of art, architecture, ritual, and burial practices to explore the complex roles of ancestors in the past. Including a comprehensive overview of nearly two hundred years of anthropological research, The Archaeology of Ancestors reveals how and why societies remember and revere the dead. Through analyses of human remains, ritual deposits, and historical documents, contributors explain how ancestors were woven into the social fabric of the living.
Erica Hill, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Alaska Southeast, is coeditor of the Alaska Journal of Anthropology. Jon B. Hageman is associate professor of anthropology at Northeastern Illinois University.