When I die I want to be buried with grave goods that make future archaeologists think I was of much higher status than I actually was so that my grave will be referred to as a princely burial and I’ll be remembered by some cool name like “The Colchester Barrow Princess” (I’ve decided that I will be buried in a highly visible barrow, possibly with a ship) and the National Trust will erect a small museum about me filled with entirely incorrect but cool sounding archaeological assumptions
Be buried literally holding a sword and axe and then sit back and watch the endless ‘powerful warrior queen v. just usual valuable grave goods indicating a high status individual’ debate from the afterlife.
I want a spring-loaded casket and non-degrading glitter. I will be remembered as “that *£^$% thing that killed Professor Hannover”
As an archaelogist I completely support this.
“Characteristic of 21st century society is the sharp delineation between the funerary practices of more conservative, traditionalist groups and the generally younger and more creative subcultures. While those who identified as more conservative nevertheless frequently included personal items in their grave goods, the individuality of their burials pales in comparison with the eccentricity and extravagance of the neoteric groups. Funerary archaeologists have been hard pressed to find commonalities between these individualistic burials. It is likely that members of these subgroups competed to include the most unique ritual items amongst the grave goods of the deceased.
One example from Colchester could be read as a highly detailed homage to the seventh-century Taplow boat burial. Dendrochronology of the vessel dates the burial to the mid- to late-21st century. The opulence of the burial is at odds with what we know of contemporary social structure. As such, it is likely that the deceased or their family wished to indicate a strong connection to the area by aligning their identity with the Anglo-Saxon royal history of the region.
Another example, this one from Milton Keynes, included a bewildering array of items. Archaeologists uncovered a Tudor coin, a Whitney Houston CD, and a mobile phone inscribed “Bite me, historians”. Taken together, these grave goods indicate a disdain for archaeological research and the reconstruction of identity using material culture. It is possible that members of this subgroup sought to use creative anachronism to conceal the date of their death. Some researchers have argued that individuals buried under similar circumstances believed that this knowledge could be used for identity fraud or necromancy.
There has been some research done into the psychological trauma associated with excavating human remains. Most of this research has focused on the emotional challenges of excavating mass graves resulting from genocide or plague, with the occasional footnote regarding individual burials (such as the excavation of a lead coffin in Whitechapel which produced a fountain of liquefied Roman remains when the air seal was pierced). It is my view, however, that further research in this field is urgently needed following the sad and horrifying events of the recent excavations on Orkney. I am sure I do not need to go into further detail about the dig that shook our discipline to the core, and will refrain from doing so. For those of a gruesome persuasion, the full excavation report has been lodged with the ADS. Field archaeologists are advised to wear protective clothing including goggles and, where possible, shields when excavating graves of this period.
Professor Hannover is sincerely missed and a monograph of papers in her honour is scheduled for publication next year.”
… it got better.