Frail, foreign or favoured? a contextualized case study from Bronze Age northeast Thailand

Domett, Kate, Newton, Jennifer, Colbert, Alana, Chang, Nigel, and Halcrow, Sian (2016) Frail, foreign or favoured? a contextualized case study from Bronze Age northeast Thailand. In: Oxenham, Marc, and Buckley, Haillie R., (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Bioarchaeology in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Routledge, New York, NY, USA, pp. 68-94.

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Abstract

The field of bioarchaeology is becoming increasingly aware of the important insights that can come from focusing on the individual (Knudson and Stojanowski, 2008; Mayes and Barber, 2008). Individual-based case studies using a bioarchaeological approach are no longer a simple osteobiography: ' ... the skeleton is more than a series of biological facts; it is the remains of an individual who interacted within a social as well as physical environment in a dynamic way' (Gowland and Knusel, 2006: x). This approach allows specific insights into how a person lived and what challenges they may have faced. If appropriately contextualized, the life of an individual based on their skeletal remains, grave goods and other information, such as the location of their grave within the site or cemetery, can tease out the minutiae of life in earlier societies that may be lost within population-based statistical studies. An osteobiography can provide the opportunity to fully integrate the biological and archaeological evidence from a single grave to provide a multidimensional character description or social personality (Binford, 1971) for an individual that can help build a more realistic picture of biological and social variability in a community. They also may allow a reflection on the individual experience within larger social phenomena and remind us of how the living individual contributed to society (Mayes and Barber, 2008: 13; Hegmon, 2003). Chang (2002) has identified the range of characteristics of an interment that carry information on social identity in general mortuary contexts. In this chapter, we attempt to draw on as much of this variety of evidence as possible for a single individual, while noting that some is lost forever, for example, aspects of the mortuary ritual that may have been carried out away from the grave site or have perished.

Item ID: 40888
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-138-77818-4
Funders: Earthwatch Institute
Date Deposited: 25 May 2016 00:48
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160102 Biological (Physical) Anthropology @ 70%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210103 Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas @ 30%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950502 Understanding Asias Past @ 100%
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