THe Lady of Kaukana: A Unique Burial from Byzantine Sicily
Sponsored by University of Pittsburgh, Departments of Classics and History of Art and Architecture
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 4:30pm

125 Frick Fine Arts Building
Schenley Drive
Pittsburgh , PA 15260
United States

Lecturer: Carrie L. Weaver, PhD,  Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Weaver is a classical archaeologist specializing in the analysis of human bones and burials. She has excavated in Pompeii, Sicily and Turkey, and analyzed human remains from Rome, Sicily, Turkey and the UK. She is currently completing her first book, The Bioarchaeology of Classical Kamarina: Life and Death in Greek Sicily, ca 5th to 3rd Century BCE.

Summary: Excavations at Punta Secca, Sicily (ancient Kaukana) in 2008 uncovered a substantially built tomb of ca. AD 625/630 inside a private house, and accompanying evidence for libations and funerary feasting in honor of the deceased. Inside the tomb were the skeletal remains of an adult female aged approximately 20-25 years and a child aged approximately 3 to 5 years. DNA analysis showed the child to be female and the adult and child to have been consanguineous, while archaeological and epigraphic evidence demonstrates that they were Christians. Since tombs do not normally occur in houses during this time period, the hypothesis is advanced that a rare neurological condition possessed by the adult female, and its concomitant medical side effects (e.g.., seizures), might have prompted special veneration of her as a holy woman.


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