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Archaeological Expectations for Communal Mourning in the Greater Los Angeles Basin

  • Author(s): Hull, Kathleen L.
  • et al.
Abstract

Ethnographic and ethnohistoric data are used to develop expectations for communal mourning features in the archaeological record of the greater Los Angeles basin. This analysis establishes that such ritual was distinct from funerary activity at the time of death in both practice and meaning, and the material remains of communal mourning may be identi ed based on constituents, object condition, item placement, feature structure, and intrasite context. Diachronic changes in communal mourning revealed in the ethnographic and ethnohistoric record also suggest, however, that archaeological evidence of such practices in the distant past may not conform in all respects to expectations derived from written sources. Cross-cultural information on the place of public performances of mourning and remembrance within small-scale societies in California provides a context for future studies on the social signi cance of communal mourning in the distant past.

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