Subject: 09 June 2013 Tombs for the Living or Tombs for the Dead Archeology is a branch of anthropology that aims to study ancient humans through various artifacts, biofacts and architecture that have survived the passage of time…
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Archeology, through cultural-history archaeology, bioarcheaology, post-processual archaeology, mortuary archaeology, etc. presents various theories that aim for the “recovery, restoration” and surfacing of ancient cultures, and learning how they changed (Dannenfeldt 8). They also focus on learning about the ancient histories as well as studying their reflexivity. The research paper at hand focuses on addressing the question of whether the rituals of death are reflective of the living or the dead. Rituals of death, no matter which culture they belong to, are performed by the living for the dead; therefore, it can be construed that these rituals are reflective of both the living and the dead. The human thinking process and thoughts evolve as time goes by, thus new theories are developed, which seem to be able to fill the gap of disadvantages left by earlier theories. In the same way, there have been certain changes or movements in the train of thought of the archaeological theory, which have led to the discovery and development of different theories or disciplines of this study. These theories or disciplines, albeit differing in only some aspects from one another, have their own unique orientation and goals that further help in revealing mysteries regarding the people of the past. First among these comes the cultural-history archeological approach developed in the nineteenth century, which basically deals with elucidating why cultures were modified or adapted according to various beliefs, and it also aims to highlight historical particularism. During the 1960s, this approach was challenged through the approach called “New Archeology,” or processual archeology, and its focus was to make studies in a more scientific and anthropological manner, thus inculcating various scientific methods and statistical analysis such as hypothesis testing etc. However, two decades later, a new approach to archeological theory evolved and it questioned the impartiality and scientific positivism which were emphasized in the previous one. This was a post-modern movement and was known as post-processual archeology, and it believed in self-critical theories and reflexivity of various cultures. However, each approach has its own pitfalls and shortcomings and as of now, a perfect approach is yet to be discovered. Despite various shortcomings, it is these approaches and disciplines to archeology that enable one to understand the lifestyle, cultural beliefs, norms and traditions of his or her great ancestors. Such archeological disciplines include bioarcheology which aims to study about human cultures and their histories, and mortuary archeology which focuses on researching about funerary practices involved in various cultures, their beliefs about after life, etc. Thus, with the help of different aspects of archeology, man is able to know about ancient cultures, histories, traditions, ways of life, beliefs and practices of his great forefathers. Mortuary archeology presents a good question of whether the funerary rites, or the rituals of the dead, are actually for the living or for the dead. In a general context, every culture has its own funerary practices and rituals to honor the deceased, and some of them share similarities. Culture is one of the most important identities of man, and it is this culture that presents various values and traditions to be followed during the lifetime of the individual. In that sense, it is
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