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Accepted Paper:

Funerary sites and rites: new approaches to contextualizing displays of the dead in museums  
Sarah Hiepler (University of Aberdeen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will present contemporary museum practices around displaying the dead in archaeological and anthropological collections in the UK. I propose that these displays can be approached and analyzed as deathscapes, secondary burials, and shrines.

Paper long abstract:

I propose that the excavation and displays of the dead in museums can be contextualized as deathscapes, secondary burials, and shrines. These new theoretical angles are informed by my current PhD research in Anthropology - Archaeology. Fieldwork took place in university museums in the UK that publicly display anthropological or archaeological material. Approaching museum displays of human remains as funerary sites will provide a starting point to help construct an argument concerning how approaches to displaying human remains illustrates the living's conceptions of death and the dead, similar to archaeological theory and approaches to funerary rites.

In this paper, I will cite various examples gathered during my fieldwork, especially focusing on the University of Liverpool's Garstang Museum. I will also include references to interviews held with members of staff from across institutions in the UK, to help illustrate these new approaches to studying museums.

Panel P179a
Afterlife counts: the economics and materiality of funerals and dealing with death [AGENET]
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -