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Friday, March 20 • 2:30pm - 3:45pm
Rites of Death

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Pagan practice is frequently linked to recovering rites from traditions for which there are few historical accounts but numerous archaeological remains. As early as the burial of a Neanderthal with flowers in the Shanidar Cave in Iraq, archaeology has recovered very early evidence for mourning and celebration of the dead. This offering presents physical evidence for pagan funerary practices from several traditions around the world including ancient Sumerians, Celts, Scythians, Scandinavians and other groups, and how they can inform us of spiritual beliefs and practices where historical texts are absent or few. Evidence is shown for boundaries between everyday space and sacred space in burials, restricting and appeasing the overactive dead, and the veneration of ancestors whose influence continued to be felt long after their lives were over. Approaches to connecting later mythological writing and prehistoric burials is discussed, including the symbolism of funerary items from ancient pagan European burials and later mythological and religious texts. Time will be provided for the audience to share thoughts and impressions regarding rites of death in their traditions or those that interest them.


Friday March 20, 2020 2:30pm - 3:45pm
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Attendees (20)