Infant Burial in Seventeenth-Century Transylvania
This chapter addresses the notion of frontier by presenting our work from a Hungarian-speaking Székely community located at the eastern edge of Transylvania. Few bioarchaeologists are familiar with the Székely population, and virtually all lines of bioarchaeological inquiry are located at the frontier of knowledge production in this area. While our local colleagues working across this region have a rich, multidisciplinary and nuanced understanding of Székely history, few scholars from outside the region are familiar with the population. The chapter describes the discovery of a regionally unique mortuary context discovered during salvage excavations in 2007. Skeletal remains of seventy individuals dated to the seventeenth century CE were recovered from inside of a Reform Church in a small Székely village. Bioarchaeological analyses provide an opportunity to better understand questions related to the bioarchaeology of fetuses, infants and children, maternal health and physiological stress during pregnancy, and religious ideology related to infant death and the archaeology of grief.
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