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The Bioarchaeology of the Human HeadDecapitation, Decoration, and Deformation$
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Michelle Bonogofsky

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813035567

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813035567.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 29 July 2021

Contextualizing the Human Head

Contextualizing the Human Head

An Introduction

(p.1) 1 Contextualizing the Human Head
The Bioarchaeology of the Human Head

Michelle Bonogofsky

University Press of Florida

This introductory chapter discusses a wide variety of biological and cultural manipulations involving human heads and skulls recovered from archaeological and ethnographic contexts around the globe, notably, as they relate to early Neolithic modeled skulls from the Middle East. As a biological object subject to disease processes and patterns of physical activity, the skull is one of the most informative parts of the human body. Significant social meaning is revealed by focusing on the various ways in which the head was treated before and after a person's death. This chapter summarizes the case studies in the book and links the practices of decapitation, decoration and deformation with potential religious, economic and political motivations and questions of identity—namely whose skulls were thus treated and why.

Keywords:   modeled skulls, Middle East, neolithic, bioarchaeology, identity

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