Chapter

The Burial Customs of Early Christian Cyprus: A Bioarchaeological Approach

Sherry C. Fox, Ioanna Moutafi, Eleni Anna Prevedorou and Despo Pilides

in Bioarchaeology and Behavior

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780813042299
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043449 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813042299.003.0004
The Burial Customs of Early Christian Cyprus: A Bioarchaeological Approach

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Burial customs of the Early Christian period in Cyprus are thought to be relatively homogeneous, by consistently having an east-west orientation, no burials in the apse, and no infant burials within the church. Studying both bioarchaeology and archaeological data from 5 different coastal and inland sites (N=95) identifies subtle differences that emerge in these burials. There is evidence of secondary burial and single and multiple individuals buried in simple pits, in cist graves, in tile graves, in tombs, in sarcophagi, in a kiln, and in a cistern. Bodies are buried in a supine position and with arms folded across the pelvis, abdomen or possibly the chest. Therefore despite overall adherence to a social expectation of burial, burial in ecclesiastical complexes are not as restricted as previously imaged.

Keywords: Cyprus; Late Byzantine; Church burials; Mortuary practices; Secondary burial

Chapter.  7881 words. 

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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