The Odd, the Unusual, and the Strange: Animal & Human Deviant Burials and their Cultural Contexts

Building upon recent research investigating the significance of “deviant” or “nonnormative” human burials within archaeological contexts, there is a proposal for a session:

– to examine a range of deviant burials, now including the often unregarded extraordinary animal burials found in ritualistic and magic practices;

– and more importantly, to explore the cultural contexts of such treatment, as well as the various challenges that the archaeologist faces, from discovery to publication.

Deviant burials provide an opportunity to gain invaluable insight to cultural constructions of outsiders, non-conformers, or “others” of different kinds. Sometimes, based on religious beliefs or other social factors, individuals who were viewed in life as extraordinary, separate from or outside of the social group were given unique burials, reflecting the deceased’s otherness or special status. These burials are identified in the archaeological record by evidence of different or unusual burial rites to those common in the given social group, segregated inhumations/cremations, unexpected burial accompaniments, or alterations to the corpse.

Evidence of deviant burials has been documented in a variety of geographic locations and temporal periods, which will be reflected in this session.

The Symposium is to be held during the European Archaeological Association (EAA) (, September 8-13, 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Symposium abstract submission: November 2013, Individual abstract submission: March 2014

Please email us your interest in participating by October 1, 2013 for the EAA 2014 Symposium

Contacts: Amy Scott (amybscot[email protected]), Dr. Tracy Betsinger ([email protected]),

Dr. Anastasia Tsaliki ([email protected])

*Participation at the symposium of the same subject to be held at the Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology (CAPA) conference in Scarborough, Canada (October 17-20, 2013) is now closed.