In class this week, all of this mortuary talk has got me thinking how incredibly different our culture today thinks of death compared to how the ancient Egyptians viewed it. I love my family but I would never want to bury them under the floors of my house. This mortuary practice I had heard about. The one that I found crazy was the fact that Egyptians would do with their dead family member’s heads. I cannot imagine cutting off the top of a relative’s head, removing the cranium, and then pouring plaster in to make a mold. The creepiest thing is putting shell in the eye sockets. I think that could be used in the next horror movie. But it was perfectly normal to have these plaster heads of your deceased family members in the household proper during this time. Now you would get put in jail.
In 1971 archeologist Louis Binford looked at the mortuary practices of 40 different societies. He believed that the more lavish the gravesite, the higher the status was of the person buried there. Later his post-processual colleagues pointed out that this was not true for every culture. Many cultures believed that you can take things into the afterlife with you but there are many others that don’t believe in material objects after you pass on.
As with all cultures they grow and change overtime. Absorbing different practices from other cultures change as cultures would collide. During the same time upper and lower Egypt were doing different mortuary practices. From burring them under your house or burying them a mile away from the village, they all had their own beliefs. 1000 years from now, when people are studying our culture, they will probably think how we burry and remember our loved ones is weird also.