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The Odd, the Unusual, and the StrangeBioarchaeological Explorations of Atypical Burials$
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Tracy K. Betsinger, Amy B. Scott, and Anastasia Tsaliki

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781683401032

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683401032.001.0001

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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: 17 September 2021

A Young Man Twice Burned

A Young Man Twice Burned

A Deviant Burial from West-Central Illinois

Chapter:
(p.66) 4 A Young Man Twice Burned
Source:
The Odd, the Unusual, and the Strange
Author(s):

Della Collins Cook

Laura Gano

Kristin M. Hedman

Susan Spencer Helfrich

Andrew R. Thompson

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9781683401032.003.0004

The Schild site in west-central Illinois comprises two Mississippian cemeteries (ca. AD 1030), one of which includes the burial of a young male (SA117) without a left hand who was buried on the periphery of the cemetery. We suggest a complicated scenario including that the forearm was burned, resulting in loss of the hand, and we argue for a deviant social identity for this unfortunate young man. SA117 was not provided with grave goods—he was buried in a semi-flexed position, and his grave is unusual in that a fire was built over the grave fill. His marginalization and his disability may reflect outsider status; in fact, based on principal components analysis, his skull differs significantly from other Mississippian males. Several American Indian groups marked unusual causes of death in mortuary practices, and survivors of some kinds of trauma—for example, scalping—were treated as if dead. The use of fire in ordeals marked the transformation of captives into slaves or adopted members of the captor community; SA117 may have been such a person.

Keywords:   West-central Illinois, Mississippi, Amputation, Mortuary practice, Schild site, Deviant burial

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