Bad Death at Sandby borg A Bioarchaeological Analysis of Intergroup Violence and Postmortem Agency of Unburied Corpses
Abstract: The subject of corpses from mass violence is surprisingly unexplored, even though the materiality of the corpse carries strong symbolic capital in conflicts. The aim of my PhD research is to create new knowledge about the implications of unburied corpses that stem from intergroup conflicts, and subsequently to add knowledge concerning how intergroup violence is organised to achieve desired social agendas.In the licentiate thesis presented here, I research the conditions for postmortem agency and how treatment of corpses can be studied in prehistory, specifically through the material remains of unburied corpses from the Sandby borg massacre. The Sandby borg case study is explored through a bioarchaeological perspective. Inside the Iron Age ringfort, the remains of at least 26 individuals have been recovered hitherto. Several of the dead display traces of lethal intergroup violence. By integrating osteology, archaeology, taphonomy and social theories, I show how bioarchaeological research can contribute to the understanding of past postmortem agency in relation to intergroup violence as a social process. The thesis is comprised of four articles.
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