Living the death in Portugal: the scientific potential of anthropological field reports (from 1994 to 2007)

Duration: 2007 – 2011

Abstract: Supported by the bioarchaeological theoretical approach and field anthropology (Anthropologie de terrain) methodology, it’s possible to take full advantage of the information that funerary context and archaeological human remains holds. Anthropological field reports contain unique information regarding past behaviours, in that sense they represent important scientific tools. From 60 field reports analyzed, 33 (produced from 1994 to 2007) were selected to study. Despite the wide historical distribution, the Mediaeval and Modern epochs were the most frequently reported. The geographic distribution also presented a bias favoring the south regions. A register system was created to gather the information regarding conservation status, funerary anthropology, paleodemography and paleopathology of the 464 individuals described in the analysed documents. Results showed that although geographic, paleodemographic and conservation data was consistently reported evidences concerning taphonomy, funerary anthroplogy and paleopathology were not so frequent. This sample consisted mainly of adult males, with cultural evidences of Christian funerary practices. Pathological evidences reported to well preserved subjects, were mainly found in the joints and entheses. This information is consistent with the features of other archaeological series.

Coordinator: Eugénia Cunha, Cristina Barroso Silva da Cruz

Participants: Eugénia Cunha, Cristina Barroso Silva da Cruz

Partner institutions:

Financial support: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, SFRH/BD/27417/2006