Performing pain, performing beauty: dealing with difficult death in the Iron Age

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    Traumatic death rends the fabric of personal and social relations in a manner that is qualitatively different to other kinds of mortality. Mourners must deal with the personal affects, familial consequences and political aftermath of such events. This paper examines the way in which performances around such difficult deaths were used to express and negotiate trauma, through the lens of Iron Age burials in Britain and Ireland. It draws on performance theory developed in relation to contexts of violence to argue that such funerals embodied a necessary tension: articulating pain whilst working towards a re-making of the world. The paper makes an original contribution to the archaeological analysis and interpretation of funerary performance, and moves recent debates on violence in the Iron Age into a new arena of study.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)539-550
    Number of pages11
    JournalCambridge Archaeological Journal
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2015


    • Performance
    • Violence
    • Death
    • Burial
    • Iron Age


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