This article will investigate the process of confronting death in cases of the
disappeared of the last military dictatorship in Argentina. Based on the exhumation and
identification of the body of a disappeared person, the article will reflect on how the
persons social situation can be reconfigured, causing structural changes within the family
and other groups. This will be followed by a discussion of the reflections generated by
the anthropologist during his or her interview process, as well as an investigation into
the authors own experiences in the field. This intimate relationship between the
anthropologist and death, through the inevitable contact that takes place among the
bodies, causes resonances in the context both of exhumations and of identifications in the
anthropologists wider fieldwork.
; perhaps these bogs saw less activity than their Irish, German or Danish counterparts, epitomising the resource-poor ‘wet desert’ envisaged by Hall et al . ( 1995 : 199). Yet the building of these tracks brought communities together, just as turf cutting would have done. A project like Corlea may have taken a local ‘king’ to command its construction, but this was on a huge scale. To get at the character of cooperative work for many of the other tracks, we can look to Henry Glassie’s ( 1995 ) ethnography of peat cutting at Ballymenone. Like track building, the demands of
This chapter will review the lives and deaths of individuals who end up in the bogs: evaluating the competing arguments for their fate, from accidental death to suicide, burial, murder, execution and sacrifice. It will explore the lives they lived, from unique insights into diet, disease and personal appearance, to mobility, origin and status, which can be gleaned from their remains. Who were they? What life had they lived up until this point? This chapter will discuss new evidence that some bogs were used in later prehistory as part of the mortuary process, using the preservative powers of its waters and temporary immersion to slow time before final burial. The chapter seeks to temper the classical authors’ accounts of barbarism or sacrifice within a wider appreciation of the motives and mindsets of later prehistoric communities, often facing considerable periods of environmental change or political unrest. It will normalise the apparent brutality we see in the bog bodies alongside other wetland and dryland remains, arguing that they represent one end of a spectrum of violence deployed as a strategy of control: using the ethnography of violence to understand – if not to excuse – the violence we witness in these remains.
–60; Schlanger, 2006).
Within the group around Durkheim, Mauss and Hubert were assigned
the task of directing and developing Durkheim’s sociological perspective
on ethnography, the ethnography of religion, history, archaeology and
prehistoric religion (see e.g. Besnard, 1983: 27). In these matters, it was
important to chisel out the characteristics of myth as a social element.
From Hubert’s Durkheimian perspective, religion, the sacred and,
in particular, myth were in focus. Myth was understood in a broad
sense. This included its attachment to religion, folk belief, collective
’s work on the Balkan lands brought him a great deal of
recognition: he was decorated by the Austrian emperor and the Serbian
king, and named an honorary member of several learned societies,
ROBERTS 9781526134554 PRINT.indd 188
Frontier gentlemen’s club189
including the Serbian Learned Society, the Serbian Royal Academy and
the Royal Saxon Academy. His publications cover numerous fields of
academic inquiry: geography, ethnography, demography, linguistics,
folklore, art and, of course, archaeology. Kanitz is celebrated as the
author of ‘some of the
. Its blindness to the boundaries of prehistory and history, of matter and text and its willingness to foray into folklore and journalism as much as ethnography, invigorates the evidence upon which archaeologists can draw. From peat cutting or farmer’s mantlepiece to conservation laboratory, archive shelf and museum store, this book will trace that journey into the public light of the gallery and on into the images and ideas about the dead that can inspire or disturb – what Heaney ( 1999 : 4) deems their unique ‘riddling power’.
The subjects of this book are thus
, based on the angle of a grave and the position of the sun. Subsequent investigation of ethnographic evidence reveals that death in pre-industrial society was more likely in the winter because of the cold and the relative scarcity of food (Brown, 1983 ; Rahtz, 1978 ; Bullough, 1983 ; Boddington, 1990 ; Kendall, 1982 ).
Also in the 1970s, Lewis Binford observed that archaeological sites were the product of human agency and he hypothesised that they would contain spatial clustering, which could be investigated by studying material remains (Binford, 1971 ). The
upper-class scholars, clerics, landed gentry, independent gentlemen, doctors and surgeons (Pearce 2007 ). Many of them had an explicit medical interest in the human body. Others were more fascinated by antiquities – collections gleaned from travel abroad or perambulations around their own county, district or country (Trigger 2006 ). Early ‘cabinets of curiosity’ had morphed into more formal collections, to which these individuals were eager to add new novelties (Bennett 1995 ; Pearce 1999 ). Across northern Europe, in their scientific, medical, ethnographic or
: the 90 cm long hair of Elling Woman had been plaited from seven strands that were then plied together and wound around her neck (van der Sanden 1996 : 145) as if in symbolic strangulation. Yet ethnographically, the cutting of hair can be used to mark initiation or signal transition, sometimes to denote the shift into the realm of the sacred (Giles 2016a ). It can also denote loss, bereavement and mourning periods (Giles 2016a ). Were these self-offerings, at key rites of passage, events or crisis in a woman’s life? In Moesgaard Museum, the fictional narrative