11. Funerary Customs of the Silk Road Cultures and Eurasian Acculturation

Case Studies in the Silk Roads Archaeology - Branka Franicevic

Branka Franicevic [+-]
University of Bradford
Branka Franicevic, archaeologist and forensic scientist, University of Oxford reader, Nottingham Trent University lecturer and a PhD student in University of Bradford. Her research interests concerns migration of people and animals, including funerary archaeology, in particular the treatment of the body and the inclusion of grave goods associated with the Silk Road cultures. Her second research area concerns environmental change in taphonomic context, and examination of the effects of microbiological and taphonomic processes on the decay of dismembered body parts.


The Silk Road routes served as a cultural bridge between East and West. Consequently, certain aspects of funerary archaeology associated with the trade network may disclose a range of cultural adaptations, reflecting the efforts of travellers to accommodate to the environments they encountered. Funerary rituals and artefacts are often connected with symbolic expressions of ethnic identity. The choice of body disposal could reveal not only aspects of cosmological beliefs but also a sense of identity that may or may not be common for the geographical location. This study explores ritual and symbolism of the specific areas of grave practices and furniture, to include: decoration of sarcophagi and funerary beds, the inclusion of grave goods and personal belongings. The first theme discusses the origin and spread of burial masks among Eurasian mounted nomads. The second draws a parallel between sociological processes and patterns of material culture between Turkish burial customs and those of north Chinese territories.

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Franicevic, Branka. 11. Funerary Customs of the Silk Road Cultures and Eurasian Acculturation. Case Studies in the Silk Roads Archaeology. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Feb 2023. ISBN 9781000000000. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=42858. Date accessed: 17 Jun 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.42858. Feb 2023

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