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date: 19 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

For those engaging with the archaeology of sub-Saharan Africa for the first time, the variable but generally limited presence of mortuary archaeologies may be quite striking, although in a few regions, notably the Middle Nile, burial archaeology is better developed, providing exceptional possibilities for exploring long-term changes in cultures of death and burial. This chapter introduces some of the more prominent manifestations of burial/mortuary archaeologies in Africa, with a view to providing some sense of the current scope of research. Following this, some aspects of our more general understandings of African death beliefs and practices, notably in relation to ‘ancestors’, are discussed, including some issues raised by religious changes, including those of more recent periods. That such changes have implications for archaeological practices is also suggested.

Keywords: Africa, death, burial, ancestors, Sudan, Niger

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