Real Bones, Real Women, Real Lives

Bioarchaeology and osteobiographies of women in ancient Cyprus

Authored by: Kirsi O. Lorentz

Women in Antiquity

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138808362
eBook ISBN: 9781315621425
Adobe ISBN: 9781317219910

10.4324/9781315621425.ch24

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Abstract

This chapter introduces to the reader a number of real women who lived on the island of Cyprus during different periods in the past, ranging from prehistoric periods through to the medieval period. Inferences on the lives of these real women are made through their physical remains, that is through bones and teeth that preserve in their structure, composition and appearance a record of various life events, augmented by contextual mortuary data. The bones and teeth (and other tissues deriving from the human body, where available) yield an increasing array of data relevant to individual life histories, as well as contributing to population level research, through methods and techniques both traditional and cutting edge. The positioning of the bones, as found during excavation and when recorded in detail, together with other contextual data, contain information on the treatment of the bodies of these women at death. In comparison with other mortuary remains from the corresponding periods, they also allow inferences as regards the standardized or normative versus exceptional nature of their treatment at death. The chapter focuses on real women in their various roles, functions and experiences in the past, whether it is in the context of birth or death, or the various aspects of life in the period as accessed through the actual bodily remains of these women, including health and disease; body modification, aesthetics and visual appearance; social relations, repetitive activity or work.

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