An Introduction to the History of Atypical Burials and the Importance of Context in the Bioarchaeological Record
This introductory chapter provides an overview of the historical, cultural, and contextual framework of this volume. Taking a critical view of how we define “non-normative” and “atypical” burials in archaeological research, this chapter highlights the long history and new approaches to burial practices that vary across distinct temporal and geographic landscapes. Championing a holistic approach beyond binary classifications, we argue there is an increasing need to avoid the use of limiting definitions and to recognize the continuum of variation that exists within these burial contexts. By focusing on the context of each burial and following an integrated biocultural approach, we are positioned to better interpret and understand their meaning(s). This chapter also introduces each study in the volume highlighting the significance of this collection through an array of comprehensive and critical analyses.
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