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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

Deviant Treatment of the Body as a Mortuary Ritual

Deviant Treatment of the Body as a Mortuary Ritual

A Case from the Middle Jomon Period in Eastern Japan

(p.347) 18 Deviant Treatment of the Body as a Mortuary Ritual
The Odd, the Unusual, and the Strange

Takeshi Ishikawa

University Press of Florida

This chapter examines the social meaning of deviant mortuary practices from an osteoarchaeological perspective using skeletal remains from the Middle Jomon Period (ca. 3500–2500 cal BC) found at the Kusakari shell mound. The analyses focus on attributes associated with mortuary body treatments: 1) arrangements of remains, 2) body posture and direction, and 3) the location of burials within the cemetery. Although the usual body postures were dorsal during the period, one individual was laid in a prone position with an unusual body direction compared with other burials. The skeletal arrangement also revealed that the individual had been disarticulated early in the postmortem decay process; however, the remains were located within the usual cemetery area. Based on these results and the extraordinary amount of varied faunal remains in the vicinity, the deviant mortuary treatments appeared to arise from a specific social persona rather than an unusual context of death, such as drowning, suicide, warfare, or other cause.

Keywords:   Jomon Period, Japan, Kusakari shell mound, Postmortem decay, Mortuary treatment, Social persona

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