Death is inevitable, but what death shows us about the social behaviors of the living is not. And recent University of Cincinnati research examining the ancient bereavement practices from the the Central Apulian region in pre-Roman Italy helps shed light on economic and social mobility, military service and even drinking customs in a culture that left no written history.
Red-figure hydria with grave scene: Women offering fillets to the deceased. Apulian Greek 450-300 BCE, terracotta [Credit: archaeology.wiki]
For instance, by focusing on the logistics of burials, treatment of deceased bodies and grave contents dating from about 525-200 BC, UC Classics doctoral student Bice Peruzzi found indication of strong social stratification and hierarchy. She also found indications of the commonality of military service since men's tombs of the era routinely contained metal weaponry lying across or near the skeletal remains.
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