Death Rituals: the Southern Italy Secondary Burials in Modern Age

Francesco Pezzini

Abstract


Some southern Italy funerary hypogeums of modern age were dedicated to a really original Death cult, characterized by a peculiar tomb structure organization: benches have been made out of the crypts walls and there the corpses were placed in a sitting position up to their complete decomposition. Then, the bones were gathered up and guarded in ossuaries.

In this way the death is not considered an event at once anymore, but a transition period marked by the decomposition process. Therefore the metamorphosis of the body becomes a metaphoric mirror of the soul voyage towards the Hereafter.

 

Key words: Secondary burial - draining practice - Sitting corpses


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