Leiden University Campus
Session Title: Aspects of Embodiment: Tattoos and Body Modification in Antiquity
From Oetzi the Iceman to today's full-sleeved and pierced urbanite, it seems that body modification has always formed an integral part of the human animal's relationship to its body. Some adornments are temporary or purely situational, such as particular body paints, jewelry or hair treatments, while others are quite permanent and, when we are very lucky, preserved in the archaeological record.
The archaeologist's arsenal in studying preserved tattoos and other body modifications has expanded in recent years. At the same time, anthropological interest in "the body" and embodiment has greatly increased theoretical interest in practices that "inscribe" upon the body. Few still see tattooing simply as a display of art; they look instead for distinctions of status, rank, age or gender, for medicinal uses, for punitive or laudatory uses, for manifestos or other propagandistic uses, as marks of belonging or exclusion, as marks of transition or transformation ... As the body arts of, e.g., Oceania and Asia, are better understood, the ideas have cross-pollenated with European archaeology. In fact, the serious and scientific attention accorded to body modification today contrasts starkly with earlier dismissal by Europeans of tattooed "barbarians." We feel that, in the current atmosphere of acceptance, it is time for a multidisciplinary session on the archaeology of body modification.
We invite papers from all relevant disciplines, but particularly welcome bioarchaeologists who work with the detection and analysis of ancient tattoos; archaeologists who work with preserved tattoos and/or modifications; and all those whose reconsiderations of ancient tattooing practices promise to expand our field and contribute to richer understanding of the ancient body and mind.
Please send abstracts as soon as possible in the following format to:
prof. dr. philippe della casa
universität zürich, abt. ur- und frühgeschichte
8006 Zürich, Switzerland
tel. +41 (0)44 6343831, fax (0)44 6344992
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