Document Detail

Grief and burial in the American Southwest: the role of evolutionary theory in the interpretation of mortuary remains.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20043376     Owner:  HMD     Status:  MEDLINE    
Evolutionary theory, in consort with Marxism and processualism, provides new insights into the interpretation of grave-good variation. Processual interpretations of burial sites in the American Southwest cite age, sex, or social rank as the main determinants of burial-good variation. Marxist theorists suggest that mortuary ritual mediates social tension between an egalitarian mindset and an existing social inequality. Evolutionary theory provides a supplementary explanatory framework. Recent studies guided by kin-selection theory suggest that humans grieve more for individuals of high reproductive value and genetic relatedness. Ethnographic examples also show that individuals mourn more intensively and, thus, place more social emphasis on burials of individuals of highest reproductive value (young adults). Analysis of grave goods from La Ciudad, a Hohokam site in the American Southwest, supports the hypothesis that labor value, reproductive value, and grief contributed to grave-good differentiation. At La Ciudad, individuals between the ages of 10 and 20 possessed more and higher-quality grave goods on average than any other age group. Grief at the loss of a young adult of high reproductive and labor value may facilitate explanation of mortuary variation at La Ciudad, as well as other sites in the greater Southwest and beyond.
D H MacDonald
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Historical Article; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  American antiquity     Volume:  66     ISSN:  0002-7316     ISO Abbreviation:  Am Antiq     Publication Date:  2001 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-12-31     Completed Date:  2010-01-01     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100966473     Medline TA:  Am Antiq     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  704-14     Citation Subset:  Q    
GAI Consultants, Inc., Monroeville, PA.
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MeSH Terms
Attitude to Death / ethnology
Funeral Rites* / history,  psychology
History, Ancient
Indians, North American / history*,  psychology*
Mortuary Practice / history,  methods,  trends
Southwestern United States

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