Prone Burials: Mortifying the Dead

Buried Face Down: Prone Burials
Current Archaeology, v.20(231), June 2009
Via National Geographic News

Face-down burial has long been regarded with a knee-jerk, not-right, benefiting-the-doubt reaction. Across cultures and through time, experts and laity alike have assumed prone burials to be accidents or the result of post-interment disturbances.

Following an extensive survey of documented prone burials around the world, however, anthropologist Caroline Arcini of Sweden’s National Heritage Board has concluded that face-down burial was done intentionally to shame the dead: prisoners of war, criminals and those of lower social status, accused as witches or harboring the wrong religion in the wrong place and time.

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