Who's afraid of the dead? Archaeology, modernity and the death taboo.
World Archaeology, 42
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00438243.2010.498665
Archaeologists have often taken it for granted that death is a taboo topic in modern society. However, the fear of death hypothesis is contested within the social sciences, so does it still follow that the display of the ancient dead is in some way shameful or unacceptable? In this paper it is argued that death is not taboo and that modern death scholars use archaeological source material as a way to understand the subtlety of the human experience. Funerary archaeology is not a dangerous topic; rather it makes a very real and valuable contribution to modern society, providing one of the few ways that people can experience a corpse and so explore their own mortality and with it their place within the larger human story.
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