Defending my PhD Proposal

Sister-Tutor Mackenzie uses a skeleton to explain to a group of student nurses that the bones in the fingers are known as 'phalanges' during an anatomy class at St Helier Hospital, via Wikimedia

Sister-Tutor Mackenzie uses a skeleton to explain bones, via Wikimedia

***Update: I passed my proposal defense, officially All But Dissertation!***

Today, I am defending my PhD proposal. I’ve been working on this proposal since last summer, and its finally ready for a public defense. I am extremely excited and nervous! Due to the defense however, I won’t be able to write a full Bones Don’t Lie today. Instead, I’m including the abstract for my defense. After the defense, I will publish the result- fingers crossed I’ll be an official PhD candidate and all but dissertation (ABD).


Katy Meyers

April 10, 2014

10am-noon in Baker #454

Preparing their Death: Examining Co-Occurrence of Cremation and Inhumation Burial Treatments in Anglo-Saxon England

The practice of cremation, deliberate burning of human remains, and inhumation, burial of a body without treatment, can occur within the same cemetery during the same time period. The exploration of co-occurrence as a mortuary program has the potential to address issues relating to funerary behavior from prehistory to the present. The lack of study of both forms in a cohesive manner is primarily due to the disciplinary perception that cremation is diametrically opposed to inhumation due to the differences in archaeological deposits and the theoretical approaches used. An explicit approach needs to be developed that allows for co-interpretation and data-driven study of these two burial types. Early Anglo-Saxon England is the perfect period to develop and test an approach to co-occurrence due to the presence of both burial forms within the same cemeteries from the mid-5th to late 6th centuries, numerous available collections, and that this study has the potential to aid answering broader questions of migration, identity, and religion in early Anglo-Saxon England. Four cemeteries have been selected as case studies based on access to materials, regional dispersion and presence of both burial types. This dissertation includes archival and archaeological data collection, digitization of the paper materials for dissemination, and fieldwork to collect Global Positioning Systems data from the four sites to conduct an intra- and inter-cemetery spatial and statistical analysis of burial patterns using a Geographic Information System. The primary objective of this dissertation is to interpret co-occurrence of cremation and inhumation within early Anglo- Saxon England. The secondary objective is to use the insight gained from the case studies to propose a generalized approach towards co-occurrence.

12 responses to “Defending my PhD Proposal

  1. This sounds really interesting. I took a little coursework in death, burial and mortuary ritual as a part of my Master’s (bioanth). I will look forward to reading more about your work.

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