Get Instant Help From 5000+ Experts For
question

Writing: Get your essay and assignment written from scratch by PhD expert

Rewriting: Paraphrase or rewrite your friend's essay with similar meaning at reduced cost

Editing:Proofread your work by experts and improve grade at Lowest cost

And Improve Your Grades
myassignmenthelp.com
loader
Phone no. Missing!

Enter phone no. to receive critical updates and urgent messages !

Attach file

Error goes here

Files Missing!

Please upload all relevant files for quick & complete assistance.

Guaranteed Higher Grade!
Free Quote
wave

1. How do funerary practices provide insights into a society’s concepts of the afterlife? Be sure to include examples drawn from one or more archaeological and/or ethnographic cases.


2. Why is “green burial” (also known as “natural burial”) becoming a fashionable mortuary practice in several countries around the world?

3. To what extent are archaeologists able to make well-substantiated claims about cannibalism from archaeological evidence? Be sure to include several examples.

4. How have state funerals and their corpses been used for political ends in early and developed states, and how often do their elaborated monumental expressions occur in moments of crisis as opposed to political stability?

5. How have archaeologists employed concepts of identity, myth and performance in interpreting later prehistoric and/or early medieval burials?

Complete Burial

Burials in the Indus valley dates back to around 2500 to 1900 BC, and civilization in the area has changed over time based on the burial practices identified by the excavators. Archaeologist such as Mortimer identified several burial sites that proved that the Indus practiced burial ceremonies and rites. Just like the religion, every burial site depicted distinctive characteristics from each other based on the practices and way of burying the dead. Three forms of burials were evident from the excavation by the archaeologists in sites such as Mohenjo-Daro and Viz. These include the complete funeral practices that involve the burial of the whole body and is performed in different forms. The fractional burial entails burying of only part of the body such as head and lastly the post-cremation burial form (McIntosh, 2008). The practices used in the funeral linked to the religious beliefs of the afterlife and had their significance. The paper will, therefore, look into detail and analyze the three forms of burial practiced in different sites in the Indus valley, how beliefs of the afterlife influence the burial practices, and why natural burial has become fashionable in most parts of the world. Moreover, the paper will look into how the various excavations reflect civilization and changes in burial practices.

According to Rebay-Salisbury (2012), complete burial entails burying of the whole body together with other material possession. These may consist of grave furniture and other offerings provided during the ceremony. Full burial was evident in sites such as Mohenjo-Daro with about 30 skeletons found in different groups. Such excavations appeared to be buried after an accidental death. Fractional burial was visible by only some parts of the body being found during excavation. It is argued that such burial was done after the corpse are exposed to external vultures and wild beasts that fed on parts of the body. In such cases, burial practices were inhuman since the body is not buried completely. The religious belief in life after death required the body to be fully buried so that the dead can continue with life after death (Rafique, 1990). An example of such burial was evident by an urn with a skull and other fragmented bones.

Post-cremation burial is the practice of burning the dead, and it was evident in some parts of Indus valley. A variety of objects and bones such as bangles, beads, skull, and bones of animals like goats and lamb and those of birds have been found underneath the floor or along the streets. In Kalibangan, other types of burial have been noticed like extended inhumation of the dead with oval or rectangular shaped grave (Parpola, 2015). Such graves contained pottery goods and other objects that may be placed in the cemetery. Pot burial was practiced in circular tombs and had all the grave goods except the central urn and lastly the pottery deposits which was done in rectangular or oval graves. Other forms of burial were also evident in Lothal wherein only a single skeleton was found in one grave, and the other two bones were found buried together.

Fractional Burial

The forms of burial found in the Indus valley have provided various clues about nature and religious beliefs in the land. Every practice at least has a symbolism of specific belief that members of the community conform to and follow. Excavations of the graves in Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro by the archaeologist identified that the low class and high class had different forms of burial based on the remains found on the graves (Konoye, 2006). Looking at the social level in the community, those individuals at the highest social class had decent burials by burying them in clothing and ornaments while those in the lower class were not clothed during funerals. Moreover, individuals at the higher social level were wrapped in a shroud and placed in a wooden coffin before being buried where they believed the dead would continue using the clothing and ornaments in the life after death. Once the burial ceremony was completed, it was not important what happens to the body. Offerings were also found laid down between the skeletons during excavation or digging of new graves. They believed that transition into the afterlife needed a rite of passage that involved burial and after that, the soul departed, and the body was of no use (Konoye, 1991).

Excavators notified that there were no sumptuous graves in the Indus valley like those found in ancient Egypt. Only a few graves were found in the area thus showing that the most common form of burial practiced was cremation of the dead (Rebay-Salisbury, 2012). The graves in Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro had a specific arrangement. The bodies were laid on the back with the head facing north and the legs facing south which according to the Indus religious beliefs was associated with the land of the dead. They believed the land of the deceased was in the north hence bodies were laid in the same direction (Williams, 2015). At Dholavira, graves pointed east or northeast and had the same argument about the land after death. The use of coffins, shroud or layer of coffins was believed to show concern of spiritual purity to the dead since there existed a physical separation of the body from the ground of the living.

Burial with costumes had some significance in the beliefs of the people of Indus valley. The excavators at Mohenjo Daro found a little mask of terra Cota that was made in a mold. Such costumes were put on by individuals who had power in public narration or telling religious story. It was believed that the dead would continue narrating in the next life hence they were buried with such goods (Williams, 2015). Moreover, in a grave at Ropar, an individual was buried with a dog which is believed to be the practice among the people of northern Neolithic. Burying of two people near each grave meant that there was an afterlife. For example, DNA studies of the remains of human beings show that women and children were buried near their mothers which indicates the attachment between the mother and their children and the life they will still live after death. Also, couples had their graves near each other to continue being family even after death.

Post-Cremation Burial

The use of natural mortuary in burying the dead has been a practice of many communities around the world including the Indus valley for centuries. The pros and cons of every type of burial used vary depending on what the family of the deceased need. In the Indus valley, natural burial was carried out through the use of wooden coffins and lowering the body into dug out graves. The practice is becoming more fashionable in many parts of the world than other forms of burial such as cremation and embalming. According to the Indus, burial was considered a passage of rite where the body goes through the transition into the afterlife. The practice of burying the dead helps to keep the remains of the dead to rest and return it into the ecosystem. Clayden, Green, Hockey, and Powell (2010), claim that having natural mortuary lowers down the cost used in preserving the body and building blocks for the display. Inclusively, many people see the practice more efficient in helping to dispose of the body remains.

Even though cremation was used in the Indus valley, it was not environmentally friendly since it left of the body remains such as bones and it lacked the carbon footprint (Harvig and Lynnerup, 2013). It is believed that green burials helped the dead to find comfort in their body by returning to the nature in which they came. Green burials help to protect land and also become holy grounds that are respected by the family. In carrying out cremation to conserve the body, it becomes more of cosmetic procedure than public health safeguard since with time the chemicals used in the process will flush out of the arterial system. Therefore, green burials are becoming more fashionable due to the reduced burial cost, a way of laying the body to rest, and it conserves the natural environment (Naas, 2012).

The archeologists have employed the identity, myth and performance concepts in determining and interpreting the form of burial used in the middle Stone Age periods (Appleby, 2010). In the Indus valley, it is believed that the transition to the afterlife is achieved through burial hence helped the archeologist to know that complete burials were carried out in the land. Moreover, the myth of immortality resulted in a full funeral where the dead are buried with other material goods. The concept of identity where the archeologist identifies the materials remains of the dead was also vital in knowing the type of burial (Gilchrist, 2008). For example at the Harappa cemetery, cremation burial was evident through the urns remains containing ash, pottery, and bones and some houses in the Mohenjo Daro had pots made of human remains. Fractional burials were interpreted by looking at the materials remains found in the grave (Halsall, 1995). Availability of only part of the bone or missing bones indicated that the burial was carried out after the exposure of the dead to animals and birds.

The paper has identified three forms of burials that were practiced in Indus valley, and they include complete, fractional and post-cremation burials. Full funeral entailed burying of the whole body together with other goods, and fractional burial involved burying of only part of the body while post-cremation entailed burning of the body. The Indus had beliefs that influenced their burial practices such as the existence of an afterlife. They buried their loved ones with material possessions that they may use in their next life and also had a unique arrangement of the graves. The green burial developed in most countries around the world because it is cost-effective, it conserves the ecosystem and is the best way of letting the loved ones rest by taking them back to nature. Archeologists have interpreted the medieval burials through the identification of the material remains such as urn and use of myths believed by the people in Indus valley. The paper has thus identified the forms of burial in Indus valley and how the beliefs influenced each form of burial and the reasons behind the increased green burial. 

Reference

Appleby, J. E. (2010). Why we need archaeology of old age, and a suggested approach. Norwegian Archaeological Review, 43(2), 145-168.

Clayden, A., Green, T., Hockey, J., & Powell, M. (2010). From cabbages to cadavers, natural burial down on the farm. Deathscapes: Spaces for death, dying, mourning and remembrance, 119-138.

Gilchrist, R. (2008). Magic for the dead? The archaeology of magic in later medieval burials. Medieval Archaeology, 52(1), 119-159.

Halsall, G. (1995). Early medieval cemeteries: an introduction to burial archaeology in the post- Roman West. Skelmorlie: Cruithne Press.

Harvig, L., & Lynnerup, N. (2013). On the volume of cremated remains–a comparative study of archaeologically recovered cremated bone volume as measured manually and assessed by Computed Tomography and by Stereology. Journal of Archaeological Science, 40(6), 2713-2722.

Konoye, J. M. (2006). Cultures and societies of the Indus tradition. Historical Roots in the Making of ‘the Aryan,’National Book Trust, New Delhi, 21-49.

Konoye, J. M. (1991). The Indus valley tradition of Pakistan and western India. Journal of World Prehistory, 5(4), 331-385.

McIntosh, J. (2008). The ancient Indus Valley: new perspectives. Abc-Clio.

Naas, M. (2012). To die a living death: Phantasms of burial and cremation in Derrida’s final seminar. Societies, 2(4), 317-331.

Rafique Mughal, M. (1990). Further evidence of the early Harappan culture in the greater Indus Valley: 1971–90. South Asian Studies, 6(1), 175-199.

Rebay-Salisbury, K. (2012). Inhumation and cremation: how burial practices are linked to beliefs. Embodied knowledge: Historical perspectives on technology and belief, 15-26.

Williams, B. (2015). Daily Life in the Indus Valley Civilization. Capstone.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

My Assignment Help. (2021). Burial Practices In The Indus Valley. Retrieved from https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/anth-1295-burial-practices-in-the-indus-valley/burial-ceremonies.html.

My Assignment Help (2021) Burial Practices In The Indus Valley [Online]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/anth-1295-burial-practices-in-the-indus-valley/burial-ceremonies.html
[Accessed 29 May 2024].

My Assignment Help. 'Burial Practices In The Indus Valley' (My Assignment Help, 2021) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/anth-1295-burial-practices-in-the-indus-valley/burial-ceremonies.html> accessed 29 May 2024.

My Assignment Help. Burial Practices In The Indus Valley [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2021 [cited 29 May 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/anth-1295-burial-practices-in-the-indus-valley/burial-ceremonies.html.

Get instant help from 5000+ experts for
question

Writing: Get your essay and assignment written from scratch by PhD expert

Rewriting: Paraphrase or rewrite your friend's essay with similar meaning at reduced cost

Editing: Proofread your work by experts and improve grade at Lowest cost

loader
250 words
Phone no. Missing!

Enter phone no. to receive critical updates and urgent messages !

Attach file

Error goes here

Files Missing!

Please upload all relevant files for quick & complete assistance.

Plagiarism checker
Verify originality of an essay
essay
Generate unique essays in a jiffy
Plagiarism checker
Cite sources with ease
support
Whatsapp
callback
sales
sales chat
Whatsapp
callback
sales chat
close