Grave Goods

One of the topics from this past week that I have enjoyed reading about and listening to in our class lectures has been the grave goods. I love that it is possible to determine ascribed verses acquired status just from the goods that were left beside an individual.

In our reading we learned that the number of grave goods included in a burial increased through time. One of the burials that I found interesting was the one of the nine year old boy from the MAO IV. His was considered to be one of the richest burials, which indicated that his status was ascribed to him from his family, and that he did not earn his status throughout his lifetime.

The practice of burial with grave goods is still common. Individuals are buried with their finest jewelry and in their nicest clothes. Some people even decide that they would like to rest eternally with their stash of baseball cards! Whatever is deemed worthy enough to be brought to the next life, whatever it may be.

When I attended Michigan Archaeology Day this past weekend at the Michigan Historical Center in downtown Lansing, I learned a little bit more about Egyptian culture regarding grave goods. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology from the University of Michigan had an interesting booth about Egyptian archaeology. In a previous post I wrote about ushabtis statues that Dr. Bob Brier spoke about at the AIA talk and this past weekend I was able to handle a replica statue at the booth! They were much smaller than I imagined, only a few inches tall. That was surprising to me because they are supposed to come back to life to serve the mummy in their next life. Are they supposed to grow to full human size when the next life appears? Maybe I am just over thinking this, but I would have thought they would have been bigger, unless they are just the symbolic representation of the figure that will appear to serve the mummy. What does everyone else think?