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Title: Shaping the Collective Memory at (Collective?) Grave Sites
Subtitle: The Representation of Death as a Tool for Creating Shared Memories in the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age Northern Levant
Author(s): LANGE-WEBER, Sarah
Journal: Semitica
Volume: 61    Date: 2019   
Pages: 295-335
DOI: 10.2143/SE.61.0.3286695

Abstract :
It has often been shown that deceased individuals could become part of the collective or cultural memory, not only but also in the Ancient Near East. These memories were oftentimes already formed during a person’s life time and potentially staged and altered during (potentially elaborate) burial ceremonies as well as in mortuary rituals afterwards. However, as the archaeological record of the Late Bronze and Iron Age Northern Levant suggests, burial practices and ritual treatments of the dead differed considerably throughout the periods. Neither collective graves nor the collective identity of the dead actually played a role in the collective or cultural memory, as these forms of commemoration were restricted to persons or actions that actually existed at some point and could therefore be remembered by the living. A collective of the dead, like the one described for the burial record of the Royal Tomb at Qatna, could therefore, by definition, not have played a role in the formation of the collective or cultural memory.



On a souvent montré que les défunts pouvaient faire partie de la mémoire collective ou culturelle, y compris au Proche-Orient ancient. Ces souvenirs se formaient déjà du vivant de la personne et étaient mis en scène lors de rites funéraires. Cependant, comme le suggèrent les trouvailles archéologiques du Levant septentrional au Bronze récent et à l’âge de Fer, les pratiques funéraires variaient considérablement à ces époques. Ni les tombes collectives ni l’identité collective des morts ne jouaient un rôle dans la mémoire collective ou culturelle, dans la mesure où ces formes de commémoration se restreignaient aux personnes et actions qui avaient existé pouvaient être évoquées par les vivants. Un collectif de morts, tel que celui décrit à Qatna, ne peut donc, par définition, avoir joué un rôle dans la formation de la mémoire collective ou culturelle.

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