11. Funerary Customs of the Silk Road Cultures and Eurasian Acculturation
Branka Franicevic [+]
University of Bradford
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.