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The University of Southampton
ArchaeologyPart of Humanities

Research project: Cremations of Madi cemetery, Estonia - Dormant - Dormant

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A collaboration between University of Tartu, Estonia and University of Southampton, UK.

The 11th-13th century dispersed cremation cemetery of Madi has fascinated archaeologists since excavations of the site began in the 1920s. Commingled with large rocks, numerous artifacts and the cremated remains of humans and animals have been recovered which date the site to a pivotal time in Estonia’s history when Christianity was competing with local traditional religious beliefs. PhD candidate Marge Konsa of the University of Tartu is focusing her work on the spatial analysis and digital representation of the Madi burial complex, hoping to recreate the funerary ritual represented by the archaeological record. Her collaboration with the University of Southampton has connected her with osteoarchaeology master’s student Laurel Engbring who is assisting in analysing the Madi burial complex by focusing her dissertation on the cremated osteological remains from Madi, supervised by Dr Joanna Sofaer. The bones provide an opportunity to determine the number of individuals buried at the site and where possible their sex and age. Laurel is also exploring the temperature of the pyres and the positioning of the cremated bodies. Her research has already shown that humans were cremated alongside a variety of animal species and is furthering our understanding of the way in which this mortuary place was utilised. It will enable Marge to create more thorough and dynamic representations of the site.

Contact information:
Marge Konsa
Laurel Engbring

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