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Mortuary Landscapes of North Africa

Mortuary Landscapes of North Africa

Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 270
  • Book Info
    Mortuary Landscapes of North Africa
    Book Description:

    Unique in both scope and perspective, this volume will prove invaluable to a cross-section of archaeological scholars.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2814-4
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. 1 Funerary Monuments and Mortuary Practices in the Landscapes of North Africa
    (pp. 3-31)
    David L. Stone and Lea M. Stirling

    All cultures must make choices about how and where to position the dead. Territory, labour, materials, and other resources are limited; therefore, the decisions that the living make in utilizing their environment to provide for the dead have the potential to reveal important features of human cultures. In this volume we examine the ‘mortuary landscapes’ of several ancient North African cultures in order to demonstrate how funerary monuments and mortuary practices have close associations with particular landscapes (fig. 1.1). Whether the subject is megalithic mounds whose round shape augments natural hills, family plots on Roman rural estates, or burial locations...

  6. 2 Interculturality and the Punic Funerary World
    (pp. 32-42)
    Habib Ben Younes

    What impact did intercultural exchange have on the pre-Roman funerary world? Both basins of the Mediterranean wash the shores of modern Tunisia; one coast looks east and the other west. This strategic position made it a practically obligatory stage in various exchanges from east to west and vice versa, with influences from the Sahara further enriching the human and cultural composition of this geographical region. It is not surprising, then, that the pre-Roman funerary landscape is correspondingly heterogeneous. Such variety necessitates investigation of the populations who lay behind the genesis of these diverse cemeteries. Only the Phoenicio-Punic populations have been...

  7. 3 Monuments on the Margins: Interpreting the First Millennium B.C.E. Rock-cut Tombs (Haouanet) of North Africa
    (pp. 43-74)
    David L. Stone

    Haouanet, the square funerary chambers carved into prominent limestone escarpments in the northern Tunisian Tell and the interior of Cap Bon during the late first millennium B.C.E., have presented a series of perplexing questions since they were first examined by archaeologists. Several aspects of the tombs have proved difficult to understand: the architectural origins of the chambers; their date of construction; the origin and symbolism of their decoration; and the ethnicity of their builders. One major difficulty is that the monuments, their creators, and their time period all lie at the margins of several disciplines: prehistory and history; archaeology and...

  8. 4 The ‘Mausoleum Culture’ of Africa Proconsularis
    (pp. 75-109)
    Jennifer P. Moore

    Within the borders of present-day Tunisia, over 340 mausolea from Roman times have been recorded to date. The people who had commissioned them held clear ideas about what these highly visible markers should communicate, ideas that their counterparts in other parts of the Roman world apparently shared. Yet this ‘mausoleum culture’ had its own vocabulary, preoccupations, and social implications in a combination that was particular to Africa Proconsularis. It was enabled by the unusual wealth of many of the region’s inhabitants and perpetuated by social expectations and rivalry within this peer group. The roots of this value system are already...

  9. 5 The Koine of the Cupula in Roman North Africa and the Transition from Cremation to Inhumation
    (pp. 110-137)
    Lea M. Stirling

    A shared feature of cemeteries of the Roman period in North Africa was a type of tomb marker known epigraphically as acupula.¹ The basic characteristic of the cupula is a long rounded top shaped like a half-barrel, sometimes placed on a low rectangular base, but there are marked regional variations in its shape, decoration, and method of building (fig. 5.1). Cupulae typically sat at ground level outdoors in cemeteries, though some at Hadrumetum were located within underground chamber tombs (hypogea).² Remains of the deceased were disposed of either within or below the marker. Cupulae appeared at both coastal and...

  10. 6 The African Way of Death: Burial Rituals beyond the Roman Empire
    (pp. 138-163)
    David J. Mattingly

    Most work on Roman-period cemeteries in Africa has focused on points of comparison between them (and their associated funerary rituals) and those of Mediterranean civilizations (Greek, Phoenician, Roman). Building on the important foundations laid long ago by Gabriel Camps,¹ this chapter aims to take a different perspective and to try to identify specifically African characteristics in mortuary tradition by focusing on one of the most significant of Saharan peoples of the Classical period.

    The Garamantes of the Libyan Sahara featured in Greco-Roman sources as the epitome of ungovernable barbaric nomads from the desert wastes. However, archaeological evidence reveals a basic...

  11. 7 Changing Urban Landscapes: Burials in North African Cities from the Late Antique to Byzantine Periods
    (pp. 164-203)
    Anna Leone

    This paper takes its starting point from a common but hitherto littleanalysed feature of many Roman cities in North Africa – the placement of tombs within the floors of former temples, houses, churches, and other urban buildings. While the cuttings for these graves are evident to any visitor today, they are nearly invisible in the published archaeological reports on these sites. Archaeologists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century scarcely mention late graves, even when it is apparent from the existing remains or from inscriptions that such graves existed. Even excavations of more modern times often report these graves only summarily,...

  12. 8 Peopling the Mortuary Landscape of North Africa: An Overview of the Human Osteological Evidence
    (pp. 204-240)
    Michael MacKinnon

    If the ultimate purpose in any burial ritual is the interment or disposal of the remains of the deceased person, it should follow that mortuary archaeology would view those remains, that is, the human osteological or forensic record, as an important source of information. Indeed, the body or skeleton itself should be the key to deciphering the context of the burial and to linking the related material record, such as grave goods or mortuary architecture, to the cultural world of the past. Despite the connection between skeletal analysis and reconstructions of ancient lives, however, the available database of human bone...

  13. INDEX
    (pp. 241-250)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 251-253)