CRYPT BURIALS FROM THE CLOISTER CHURCH OF RIESA (GERMANY) – CHANGES OF FUNERARY CUSTOMS, BODY TREATMENT, AND ATTITUDES TO DEATH

Alterauge, Amelie; Hofmann, Cornelia (August 2019). CRYPT BURIALS FROM THE CLOISTER CHURCH OF RIESA (GERMANY) – CHANGES OF FUNERARY CUSTOMS, BODY TREATMENT, AND ATTITUDES TO DEATH. In: 25th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA). Bern. 4-7 September 2019.

The cloister church of Riesa (Saxony) contains two burial crypts which were used from the 17th to 19th century AD by the local noble families von Felgenhauer, von Odeleben and von Welck. During the last two centuries, the crypts have experienced severe changes, which could partly be reconstructed through archive records, photographs and oral history. The aim of the investigations, supported by the parish and the city museum, was to document the current state-of-preservation and to identify the inhumations by combining different types of evidence. The crypt beneath the altar originally contained 50 inhumations of which nowadays 30 are still preserved, either as coffins and/or mummies, while eight individuals were entombed in the northern above-ground crypt. The coffins were visually inspected and dated by typo-chronological comparisons, and inscriptions were transliterated whenever possible. Materials, fabrication, clothing type, and dating of the garments were determined during textile analysis, preceded by surface cleaning. The mummified remains were subjected to a physical anthropological investigation, including X-ray and/or computed tomography. Different body treatments resulting in natural or artificial mummification could be observed. The X-ray images also revealed hidden fasteners of the garments as well as funerary objects placed in the coffins´ padding. In selected cases, samples for aDNA analysis were taken in order to test the kinship between individuals, and stable isotope analysis was performed for the reconstruction of diet, provenance, and age of weaning. Probable identification could only be achieved for the individuals with contextual information; however, the bioarchaeological analyses are still ongoing. The coffin ornamentation and inscriptions as well as the garments show chronological as well as individual changes from the 17th to 19th century, most distinctive for children burials. They also express a changing attitude to death, reflecting at first devotion and hope of resurrection, later familial affiliation and individual status.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Anthropology

UniBE Contributor:

Alterauge, Amelie Sophie

Subjects:

900 History > 940 History of Europe

ISBN:

978-80-907270-6-9

Language:

English

Submitter:

Amelie Sophie Alterauge

Date Deposited:

18 Sep 2019 16:41

Last Modified:

18 Sep 2019 16:41

Additional Information:

Abstract Book

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/133217

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