Depositing the Dead: Human Remains, Material Culture and Funerary Practices in Kamarina, Sicily, Ca. 5th to 3rd Century BC

Weaver, Carrie Lynn Sulosky, Department of Art, University of Virginia
Smith, Tyler, Department of Art, University of Virginia
Dobbins, John, Department of Art, University of Virginia
Bell, Malcolm, Department of Art, University of Virginia
Dakouri-Hild, Anastasia, Department of Art, University of Virginia

The Greek site of Kamarina (southeastern Sicily) was founded as a sub-colony of Syracuse around 599/598 BC. Excavations by Giovanni Di Stefano (1980-1983) uncovered approximately 1007 burials in the Passo Marinaro necropolis (5 th through 3 rd c. BC). Of these, 258 were available for study. Using the concept of materiality as an interpretive framework, this dissertation is an interdisciplinary examination of the Passo Marinaro sample for the purpose of reconstructing the synchronic dynamics, state of health and mortuary practices of Kamarina. The results of osteological, material culture and ritual analyses reveal details regarding burial customs, demographic trends, state of health, ancestry, ethnicity, social status and magical beliefs. When data concerning grave goods (types, counts) and the ritualistic treatment of the deceased (body/head position, grave orientation, burial receptacle) are compiled for the sample and compared to contemporary necropoleis from Sicily and southern Italy, the trends witnessed at Passo Marinaro are closest to those of other Greek necropoleis in Sicily. This finding provides support for the theory that the Greeks living in Sicily participated in an independent burial tradition that was unique to the island. When material evidence is combined with findings from the biological study of the human remains, a more complete portrait of Kamarina emerges. The majority of people did not live past young adulthood. Throughout their lives, most experienced dental diseases (linear enamel hypoplasia, dental caries, antemortem tooth loss, dental calculus, periodontal disease, dental crowding and impaction), some developed degenerative joint iii disease, anemia (porotic hyperostosis, cribra orbitalia) and bone infections (periostitis), others possessed physical deformities (craniosynostosis, pituitary dwarfism), and a few were the victims of interpersonal violence (blunt and sharp force) and possibly cancer (leukemia). Kamarina was a place where magic (curse tablets, deviant burial) and surgery (trepanation) were practiced, and individuals of diverse ethnicities (Greek, nonGreek) and ancestries (two possible sub-Saharan Africans) were united in life and death by shared culture and funerary practices. Through the combination of methods drawn from classical archaeology and physical anthropology, this study, the first of its kind for Greek Sicily, has shed new light on the lifeand deathways of Classical Kamarina.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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