PACEA — De la Préhistoire à l'Actuel : Culture, Environnement et Anthropologie.

PACEA — De la Préhistoire à l’Actuel : Culture, Environnement et Anthropologie. UMR 5199, Université de Bordeaux, CNRS.


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The Archaaology of Death, Ritual and Symbols

par Frédéric Santos - publié le

Coordinators : Jacques Jaubert and Stéphane Rottier

This research theme focuses on decoding the practices, rituals and symbols of past populations in order to identify the mechanisms underlying the emergence and diversification of cultural phenomena. It brings together research concerning the construction of identities through funerary and symbolic behaviours from their earliest appearance to much more recent periods. This research theme is divided into four different programmes ranging from the earliest evidence of modern behaviour to complex societies.

The theme works closely with theme 1 for all palaeobiological aspects and brings together several of the lab’s major driving forces working on funerary or mortuary practices and symbolic behaviours from the Lower Palaeolithic to historic periods. Work concerning symbolic behaviour also ranges from the first symbolic activities of the Middle Palaeolithic/Middle Stone Age to Holocene rock art and the archaeology of historic period religions while equally integrating actualistic data from ethno-archaeological research. Straddling both research topics is the use of karstic systems, particularly endokarsts, by past populations as places to deposit the dead or as mediums for artistic expressions. This research generates new questions and drives the development of new research methodologies in a theme that comprises archaeologists, anthropologists, palaeobiologists, geolologists and prehistorians.

Research programmes

  • Concepts, reference collections, and the interface between analysis and conservation
  • From the object to its meaning
  • Symbolic and funerary behaviour
  • The role of mortuary and funerary practices in identifying past societies.