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Title:Beauty in Death: Medieval Mortuary Practice in Transylvania
Author(s):Dunn, Tyler E.
Contributor(s):Gonciar, Andre; Zsolt, Nyaradi; Bethard, Jonathan
Abstract:Death is all around us and the study of past mortuary practices can inform many aspects of modern culture, including facets of the stratification of society, the interaction of individuals and the landscape, and the belief systems surrounding death. The selection of mortuary sites is often regarded as important in archaeological analysis and this image captures the landscape from the point of view of a village cemetery (Patakfalva, Hargita, Romaina), which has been in use for 500 years. This image further captures the juxtaposition of the modern and the medieval, the photographer is standing in an ongoing archaeological excavation of the medieval burials within the cemetery and the associated abandoned church yet the image shows modern burials which are cared for by living individuals. Several questions are evoked by this image, which serve as drivers to the ongoing research for this site. Why was this specifically site chosen? Did the beauty of the landscape influence site choice? Why was the church abandoned yet the cemetery use continued? How do the modern cultural mortuary practices compare to the medieval? These questions aim to explore the universality yet individuality of the treatment of death.
Issue Date:2015-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Tyler E. Dunn
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-04-20

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