I'm a PhD student researching the role of mortuary archaeology in contemporary British society. Think of this as a scrapbook of all the interesting links, snippets of information and random bits and bobs I come across pertaining to death, dying and the dead. Enjoy?!


BODIES AT UXUL SHOW HOW MAYA DISMEMBERED THEIR ENEMIES
Researchers of the Department of Anthropology of the Americas at the University of Bonn have discovered a mass grave in an artificial cave in the historical Maya city of Uxul (Mexico).
Marks on the bones indicate that the individuals buried in the cave were decapitated and dismembered around 1,400 years ago. The scientists assume that the victims were either prisoners of war or nobles from Uxul itself.
Skulls were scattered around
“Aside from the large number of interred individuals, it already became apparent during the excavation that the skeletons were no longer in their original anatomical articulation“, says the archaeologist Nicolaus Seefeld, who studied the sophisticated water supply system of Uxul for his doctoral thesis and discovered the mass grave.
All of the skulls were lying scattered around the interior of the cave, in no relation to the rest of the bodies. Even the majority of the lower jaws were separated from the heads. In contrast, detailed examination determined that the limbs of the legs and hands were in some cases completely preserved. “This observation excluded the possibility that this mass grave was a so-called secondary burial, in which the bones of the deceased are placed at a new location“, says Nicolaus Seefeld.

(Source: Past Horizons)

BODIES AT UXUL SHOW HOW MAYA DISMEMBERED THEIR ENEMIES
Researchers of the Department of Anthropology of the Americas at the University of Bonn have discovered a mass grave in an artificial cave in the historical Maya city of Uxul (Mexico).
Marks on the bones indicate that the individuals buried in the cave were decapitated and dismembered around 1,400 years ago. The scientists assume that the victims were either prisoners of war or nobles from Uxul itself.
Skulls were scattered around
“Aside from the large number of interred individuals, it already became apparent during the excavation that the skeletons were no longer in their original anatomical articulation“, says the archaeologist Nicolaus Seefeld, who studied the sophisticated water supply system of Uxul for his doctoral thesis and discovered the mass grave.
All of the skulls were lying scattered around the interior of the cave, in no relation to the rest of the bodies. Even the majority of the lower jaws were separated from the heads. In contrast, detailed examination determined that the limbs of the legs and hands were in some cases completely preserved. “This observation excluded the possibility that this mass grave was a so-called secondary burial, in which the bones of the deceased are placed at a new location“, says Nicolaus Seefeld.

(Source: Past Horizons)

BODIES AT UXUL SHOW HOW MAYA DISMEMBERED THEIR ENEMIES

Researchers of the Department of Anthropology of the Americas at the University of Bonn have discovered a mass grave in an artificial cave in the historical Maya city of Uxul (Mexico).

Marks on the bones indicate that the individuals buried in the cave were decapitated and dismembered around 1,400 years ago. The scientists assume that the victims were either prisoners of war or nobles from Uxul itself.

Skulls were scattered around

Aside from the large number of interred individuals, it already became apparent during the excavation that the skeletons were no longer in their original anatomical articulation“, says the archaeologist Nicolaus Seefeld, who studied the sophisticated water supply system of Uxul for his doctoral thesis and discovered the mass grave.

All of the skulls were lying scattered around the interior of the cave, in no relation to the rest of the bodies. Even the majority of the lower jaws were separated from the heads. In contrast, detailed examination determined that the limbs of the legs and hands were in some cases completely preserved. “This observation excluded the possibility that this mass grave was a so-called secondary burial, in which the bones of the deceased are placed at a new location“, says Nicolaus Seefeld.

(Source: Past Horizons)


SEVERED HEAD OFFERING FOUND IN AZTEC TEMPLE
Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) recently found the decapitated skull of an individual still lying in the offering bowl, dating back 500 years ago at the Tlatelolco temple site in Mexico City.
Tlatelolco is a site in Mexico City where remains of the pre-Columbian city-state of the same name have been found centred on the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, which is a large square surrounded on three sides by a excavated Aztec monuments and a seventeenth-century church called the Templo de Santiago.
According to the archaeologist Salvador Guilliem, director of the Tlatelolco Project, the decapitated remains belonged to a young adult and were deposited as an offering in a ceramic vessel.The grisly find was found at a stratum level that relates to the construction phase VII-A of the Great Temple (between 1500 and 1515 CE) and may represent a consecration offering, placed here during the preparation rituals of the space that the new structure would occupy.

(Source: Past Horizons)

SEVERED HEAD OFFERING FOUND IN AZTEC TEMPLE
Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) recently found the decapitated skull of an individual still lying in the offering bowl, dating back 500 years ago at the Tlatelolco temple site in Mexico City.
Tlatelolco is a site in Mexico City where remains of the pre-Columbian city-state of the same name have been found centred on the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, which is a large square surrounded on three sides by a excavated Aztec monuments and a seventeenth-century church called the Templo de Santiago.
According to the archaeologist Salvador Guilliem, director of the Tlatelolco Project, the decapitated remains belonged to a young adult and were deposited as an offering in a ceramic vessel.The grisly find was found at a stratum level that relates to the construction phase VII-A of the Great Temple (between 1500 and 1515 CE) and may represent a consecration offering, placed here during the preparation rituals of the space that the new structure would occupy.

(Source: Past Horizons)

SEVERED HEAD OFFERING FOUND IN AZTEC TEMPLE

Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) recently found the decapitated skull of an individual still lying in the offering bowl, dating back 500 years ago at the Tlatelolco temple site in Mexico City.

Tlatelolco is a site in Mexico City where remains of the pre-Columbian city-state of the same name have been found centred on the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, which is a large square surrounded on three sides by a excavated Aztec monuments and a seventeenth-century church called the Templo de Santiago.

According to the archaeologist Salvador Guilliem, director of the Tlatelolco Project, the decapitated remains belonged to a young adult and were deposited as an offering in a ceramic vessel.The grisly find was found at a stratum level that relates to the construction phase VII-A of the Great Temple (between 1500 and 1515 CE) and may represent a consecration offering, placed here during the preparation rituals of the space that the new structure would occupy.

(Source: Past Horizons)


‘La Santa Muerte’ spreading across US after years linked to Mexico drug cartels, love, magic
“All my success … I owe to her,” he said. “She cleansed me and showed me the way.”
Some devotees pray to the saint by building altars and offering votive candles, fruits, tequila, cigarettes — even lines of cocaine in some cases — in exchange for wishes, Chesnut said. A red La Santa Muerte, her best-selling image, helps in matters of love. Gold ones aid with employment and white ones give protection. Meanwhile, a black Santa Muerte can provide vengeance.
“She’s my queen,” said Arely Vazquez Gonzalez, a Mexican immigrant and transgender woman who oversees a large altar inside her Queens, New York apartment. Against one wall of her bedroom altar is a tall, sitting Santa Muerte statue in a black dress surrounded by offerings of tequila.
Gonzalez, who sports a tattoo of La Santa Muerte on her back, holds an annual event in August in the saint’s honor, with mariachis and a feast.
“All I have to do I ask for her guidance and she provides me with what I need,” she said.

Read more here.

‘La Santa Muerte’ spreading across US after years linked to Mexico drug cartels, love, magic
“All my success … I owe to her,” he said. “She cleansed me and showed me the way.”
Some devotees pray to the saint by building altars and offering votive candles, fruits, tequila, cigarettes — even lines of cocaine in some cases — in exchange for wishes, Chesnut said. A red La Santa Muerte, her best-selling image, helps in matters of love. Gold ones aid with employment and white ones give protection. Meanwhile, a black Santa Muerte can provide vengeance.
“She’s my queen,” said Arely Vazquez Gonzalez, a Mexican immigrant and transgender woman who oversees a large altar inside her Queens, New York apartment. Against one wall of her bedroom altar is a tall, sitting Santa Muerte statue in a black dress surrounded by offerings of tequila.
Gonzalez, who sports a tattoo of La Santa Muerte on her back, holds an annual event in August in the saint’s honor, with mariachis and a feast.
“All I have to do I ask for her guidance and she provides me with what I need,” she said.

Read more here.

‘La Santa Muerte’ spreading across US after years linked to Mexico drug cartels, love, magic

“All my success … I owe to her,” he said. “She cleansed me and showed me the way.”

Some devotees pray to the saint by building altars and offering votive candles, fruits, tequila, cigarettes — even lines of cocaine in some cases — in exchange for wishes, Chesnut said. A red La Santa Muerte, her best-selling image, helps in matters of love. Gold ones aid with employment and white ones give protection. Meanwhile, a black Santa Muerte can provide vengeance.

“She’s my queen,” said Arely Vazquez Gonzalez, a Mexican immigrant and transgender woman who oversees a large altar inside her Queens, New York apartment. Against one wall of her bedroom altar is a tall, sitting Santa Muerte statue in a black dress surrounded by offerings of tequila.

Gonzalez, who sports a tattoo of La Santa Muerte on her back, holds an annual event in August in the saint’s honor, with mariachis and a feast.

“All I have to do I ask for her guidance and she provides me with what I need,” she said.

Read more here.


Body of ‘Ugliest Woman in the World’ returns to her birthplace in Mexico for burial more than 150 years after her death
A woman branded the ‘ugliest woman in the world’ after a rare disease left her body covered in hair has finally returned to her birthplace in Mexico for a proper burial - 153 years after her death.
Julia Pastrana was exploited as part of a traveling exhibition through Europe until she died from complications of childbirth in 1860. Even after her death, her body was exhibited across the world.
It eventually ended up in a storage room at an Oslo research institute, and after learning of the body’s whereabouts, visual artist Laura Anderson Barbata campaigned to have it returned to Mexico.
'I felt she deserved the right to regain her dignity and her place in history, and in the world's memory,' Barbata, who learned Pastrana's story while working on a play about her life, told the New York Times.
'I hoped to help change her position as a victim to one where she can be seen in her entirety and complexity.'
Barbata, who lives in New York but hails from Mexico City, eventually won her decade-long battle and on Tuesday, Pastrana’s body will finally be buried in Sinaloa de Leyva.
Pastrana was born in Mexico in 1834 and suffered from congenital terminal hypertrichosis, which left her face and body covered in thick hair.
She also suffered from gingival hyperplasia, which made her lips and gums thick. She was not diagnosed with either condition in her lifetime.
In 1854, she was bought by a Mexican customs administrator and he began exhibiting her through the U.S. and Canada. While in New York, she married Theodore Lent, who became her manager.
Historians believe that while she was in love with Lent, he only married her to control her earnings, the New York Times reported.

Read more here.

Body of ‘Ugliest Woman in the World’ returns to her birthplace in Mexico for burial more than 150 years after her death
A woman branded the ‘ugliest woman in the world’ after a rare disease left her body covered in hair has finally returned to her birthplace in Mexico for a proper burial - 153 years after her death.
Julia Pastrana was exploited as part of a traveling exhibition through Europe until she died from complications of childbirth in 1860. Even after her death, her body was exhibited across the world.
It eventually ended up in a storage room at an Oslo research institute, and after learning of the body’s whereabouts, visual artist Laura Anderson Barbata campaigned to have it returned to Mexico.
'I felt she deserved the right to regain her dignity and her place in history, and in the world's memory,' Barbata, who learned Pastrana's story while working on a play about her life, told the New York Times.
'I hoped to help change her position as a victim to one where she can be seen in her entirety and complexity.'
Barbata, who lives in New York but hails from Mexico City, eventually won her decade-long battle and on Tuesday, Pastrana’s body will finally be buried in Sinaloa de Leyva.
Pastrana was born in Mexico in 1834 and suffered from congenital terminal hypertrichosis, which left her face and body covered in thick hair.
She also suffered from gingival hyperplasia, which made her lips and gums thick. She was not diagnosed with either condition in her lifetime.
In 1854, she was bought by a Mexican customs administrator and he began exhibiting her through the U.S. and Canada. While in New York, she married Theodore Lent, who became her manager.
Historians believe that while she was in love with Lent, he only married her to control her earnings, the New York Times reported.

Read more here.

Body of ‘Ugliest Woman in the World’ returns to her birthplace in Mexico for burial more than 150 years after her death
A woman branded the ‘ugliest woman in the world’ after a rare disease left her body covered in hair has finally returned to her birthplace in Mexico for a proper burial - 153 years after her death.
Julia Pastrana was exploited as part of a traveling exhibition through Europe until she died from complications of childbirth in 1860. Even after her death, her body was exhibited across the world.
It eventually ended up in a storage room at an Oslo research institute, and after learning of the body’s whereabouts, visual artist Laura Anderson Barbata campaigned to have it returned to Mexico.
'I felt she deserved the right to regain her dignity and her place in history, and in the world's memory,' Barbata, who learned Pastrana's story while working on a play about her life, told the New York Times.
'I hoped to help change her position as a victim to one where she can be seen in her entirety and complexity.'
Barbata, who lives in New York but hails from Mexico City, eventually won her decade-long battle and on Tuesday, Pastrana’s body will finally be buried in Sinaloa de Leyva.
Pastrana was born in Mexico in 1834 and suffered from congenital terminal hypertrichosis, which left her face and body covered in thick hair.
She also suffered from gingival hyperplasia, which made her lips and gums thick. She was not diagnosed with either condition in her lifetime.
In 1854, she was bought by a Mexican customs administrator and he began exhibiting her through the U.S. and Canada. While in New York, she married Theodore Lent, who became her manager.
Historians believe that while she was in love with Lent, he only married her to control her earnings, the New York Times reported.

Read more here.

Body of ‘Ugliest Woman in the World’ returns to her birthplace in Mexico for burial more than 150 years after her death

A woman branded the ‘ugliest woman in the world’ after a rare disease left her body covered in hair has finally returned to her birthplace in Mexico for a proper burial - 153 years after her death.

Julia Pastrana was exploited as part of a traveling exhibition through Europe until she died from complications of childbirth in 1860. Even after her death, her body was exhibited across the world.

It eventually ended up in a storage room at an Oslo research institute, and after learning of the body’s whereabouts, visual artist Laura Anderson Barbata campaigned to have it returned to Mexico.

'I felt she deserved the right to regain her dignity and her place in history, and in the world's memory,' Barbata, who learned Pastrana's story while working on a play about her life, told the New York Times.

'I hoped to help change her position as a victim to one where she can be seen in her entirety and complexity.'

Barbata, who lives in New York but hails from Mexico City, eventually won her decade-long battle and on Tuesday, Pastrana’s body will finally be buried in Sinaloa de Leyva.

Pastrana was born in Mexico in 1834 and suffered from congenital terminal hypertrichosis, which left her face and body covered in thick hair.

She also suffered from gingival hyperplasia, which made her lips and gums thick. She was not diagnosed with either condition in her lifetime.

In 1854, she was bought by a Mexican customs administrator and he began exhibiting her through the U.S. and Canada. While in New York, she married Theodore Lent, who became her manager.

Historians believe that while she was in love with Lent, he only married her to control her earnings, the New York Times reported.

Read more here.


The 150 Mexican skulls that reveal the largest mass sacrifice in the region’s bloody history
What could be the site of the largest mass human sacrifice in the bloody history of Mexico’s ancient civilisations has been discovered.
Archaeologists working at the site near to Mexico City have so far unearthed 150 skulls with just one or two vertaebrae attached - suggesting they were hacked off the victims.
Dated to between 600 and 850AD, the skulls were found in an area miles from the nearest large city of the day, and researchers say the discovery could challenge existing notions about the area’s ancient culture.
'It's absolutely remarkable to think about this little nothing on the landscape having potentially evidence of the largest mass human sacrifice in ancient Meso-America,' said Christopher Morehart of Georgia State University.

Read more here.

The 150 Mexican skulls that reveal the largest mass sacrifice in the region’s bloody history
What could be the site of the largest mass human sacrifice in the bloody history of Mexico’s ancient civilisations has been discovered.
Archaeologists working at the site near to Mexico City have so far unearthed 150 skulls with just one or two vertaebrae attached - suggesting they were hacked off the victims.
Dated to between 600 and 850AD, the skulls were found in an area miles from the nearest large city of the day, and researchers say the discovery could challenge existing notions about the area’s ancient culture.
'It's absolutely remarkable to think about this little nothing on the landscape having potentially evidence of the largest mass human sacrifice in ancient Meso-America,' said Christopher Morehart of Georgia State University.

Read more here.

The 150 Mexican skulls that reveal the largest mass sacrifice in the region’s bloody history

What could be the site of the largest mass human sacrifice in the bloody history of Mexico’s ancient civilisations has been discovered.

Archaeologists working at the site near to Mexico City have so far unearthed 150 skulls with just one or two vertaebrae attached - suggesting they were hacked off the victims.

Dated to between 600 and 850AD, the skulls were found in an area miles from the nearest large city of the day, and researchers say the discovery could challenge existing notions about the area’s ancient culture.

'It's absolutely remarkable to think about this little nothing on the landscape having potentially evidence of the largest mass human sacrifice in ancient Meso-America,' said Christopher Morehart of Georgia State University.

Read more here.




PALENQUE’S RED QUEEN
The skeletal remains of the so-called ‘Red Queen’, the enigmatic individual discovered at Palenque, in Mexico, are being scientifically analysed using a number of techniques.
It is still unclear whether the Red Queen who died 1,300 years ago, was the wife of Pakal II or if she was a ruler of the ancient Mayan metropolis once known as Lakamha (place of the big waters).
In a recent interview Lourdes Muñoz explained that before the remains of the Red Queen were returned to Palenque, in June 2012, they managed to extract a collagen sample from one of her vertebrae for further studies.
Javiera Cervini, a specialist in geochemistry at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, examined the sample and was convinced that the preservation of the collagen fibres from the vertebrae was good enough to progress and attempt to extract DNA.
Although it’s not the first time that the Red Queen’s remains have been subject to study, this recent investigation  is also utilising DNA mitochondrional examination to provide new information about this mysterious figure in Mayan history.
The tombs of both the Red Queen and Pakal II are the largest and most elaborate of all those discovered in the ancient Mayan city of Palenque. Both have been archaeologically dated by the type of ceramic offerings found in both – to between 600 and 700 CE.



Amazing picture. Read more here!



PALENQUE’S RED QUEEN
The skeletal remains of the so-called ‘Red Queen’, the enigmatic individual discovered at Palenque, in Mexico, are being scientifically analysed using a number of techniques.
It is still unclear whether the Red Queen who died 1,300 years ago, was the wife of Pakal II or if she was a ruler of the ancient Mayan metropolis once known as Lakamha (place of the big waters).
In a recent interview Lourdes Muñoz explained that before the remains of the Red Queen were returned to Palenque, in June 2012, they managed to extract a collagen sample from one of her vertebrae for further studies.
Javiera Cervini, a specialist in geochemistry at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, examined the sample and was convinced that the preservation of the collagen fibres from the vertebrae was good enough to progress and attempt to extract DNA.
Although it’s not the first time that the Red Queen’s remains have been subject to study, this recent investigation  is also utilising DNA mitochondrional examination to provide new information about this mysterious figure in Mayan history.
The tombs of both the Red Queen and Pakal II are the largest and most elaborate of all those discovered in the ancient Mayan city of Palenque. Both have been archaeologically dated by the type of ceramic offerings found in both – to between 600 and 700 CE.



Amazing picture. Read more here!

PALENQUE’S RED QUEEN

The skeletal remains of the so-called ‘Red Queen’, the enigmatic individual discovered at Palenque, in Mexico, are being scientifically analysed using a number of techniques.

It is still unclear whether the Red Queen who died 1,300 years ago, was the wife of Pakal II or if she was a ruler of the ancient Mayan metropolis once known as Lakamha (place of the big waters).

In a recent interview Lourdes Muñoz explained that before the remains of the Red Queen were returned to Palenque, in June 2012, they managed to extract a collagen sample from one of her vertebrae for further studies.

Javiera Cervini, a specialist in geochemistry at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, examined the sample and was convinced that the preservation of the collagen fibres from the vertebrae was good enough to progress and attempt to extract DNA.

Although it’s not the first time that the Red Queen’s remains have been subject to study, this recent investigation  is also utilising DNA mitochondrional examination to provide new information about this mysterious figure in Mayan history.

The tombs of both the Red Queen and Pakal II are the largest and most elaborate of all those discovered in the ancient Mayan city of Palenque. Both have been archaeologically dated by the type of ceramic offerings found in both – to between 600 and 700 CE.

Amazing picture. Read more here!



Archaeologists digging in a 1,000-year-old pre-Hispanic cemetery in Mexico’s South Sonora have uncovered a series of skeletons featuring signs of cranial deformation. The practice, which is well documented among Mesoamerican peoples, has never been seen this far north before — a strong indication that their cultural influence was far more prominent than previously assumed.
The ancient burial ground, which is being excavated by Garcia Moreno on behalf of Arizona State University and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), consists of 25 individuals, 13 of which exhibit intentional cranial deformations.
Also called head binding or head flattening, the practice was likely done to signify group affiliation or as a way to demonstrate social status. It may have also been seen as something aesthetically pleasing.


Read more here!


Archaeologists digging in a 1,000-year-old pre-Hispanic cemetery in Mexico’s South Sonora have uncovered a series of skeletons featuring signs of cranial deformation. The practice, which is well documented among Mesoamerican peoples, has never been seen this far north before — a strong indication that their cultural influence was far more prominent than previously assumed.
The ancient burial ground, which is being excavated by Garcia Moreno on behalf of Arizona State University and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), consists of 25 individuals, 13 of which exhibit intentional cranial deformations.
Also called head binding or head flattening, the practice was likely done to signify group affiliation or as a way to demonstrate social status. It may have also been seen as something aesthetically pleasing.


Read more here!

Archaeologists digging in a 1,000-year-old pre-Hispanic cemetery in Mexico’s South Sonora have uncovered a series of skeletons featuring signs of cranial deformation. The practice, which is well documented among Mesoamerican peoples, has never been seen this far north before — a strong indication that their cultural influence was far more prominent than previously assumed.

The ancient burial ground, which is being excavated by Garcia Moreno on behalf of Arizona State University and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), consists of 25 individuals, 13 of which exhibit intentional cranial deformations.

Also called head binding or head flattening, the practice was likely done to signify group affiliation or as a way to demonstrate social status. It may have also been seen as something aesthetically pleasing.

Read more here!


Sugar skulls and ‘rotten’ bananas: Mexico’s surprising tastes
Mexico’s culinary traditions and new flavours are finding new audiences as people around the world celebrate Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead).
It’s unlikely that the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Mexican food is a dish of fermented banana.
But this flavour is quintessentially Mexican, says chef Enrique Olvera.
Mr Olvera serves what he fondly refers to as “rotten bananas” at his restaurant Pujol, in Mexico City.
He says one of his strongest childhood food memories is that of his grandmother serving practically black bananas, and it is this distinctly Mexican flavour that he recreates.

Read more here!

Sugar skulls and ‘rotten’ bananas: Mexico’s surprising tastes
Mexico’s culinary traditions and new flavours are finding new audiences as people around the world celebrate Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead).
It’s unlikely that the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Mexican food is a dish of fermented banana.
But this flavour is quintessentially Mexican, says chef Enrique Olvera.
Mr Olvera serves what he fondly refers to as “rotten bananas” at his restaurant Pujol, in Mexico City.
He says one of his strongest childhood food memories is that of his grandmother serving practically black bananas, and it is this distinctly Mexican flavour that he recreates.

Read more here!

Sugar skulls and ‘rotten’ bananas: Mexico’s surprising tastes

Mexico’s culinary traditions and new flavours are finding new audiences as people around the world celebrate Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead).

It’s unlikely that the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Mexican food is a dish of fermented banana.

But this flavour is quintessentially Mexican, says chef Enrique Olvera.

Mr Olvera serves what he fondly refers to as “rotten bananas” at his restaurant Pujol, in Mexico City.

He says one of his strongest childhood food memories is that of his grandmother serving practically black bananas, and it is this distinctly Mexican flavour that he recreates.

Read more here!


Day of the Dead: From Mexico City to London Town
The Day of the Dead celebrates the lives of loved ones who have died while also reminding people about their own mortality.
The festival, which is known as “Dia de Muertos” in Spanish, is traditionally celebrated on November 1 and 2 in Mexico.
Seen as a fusion of Catholic and indigenous cultures, the festival is characterised by altars, visits to graves and celebrations with traditional food and music.
But the festival is no longer only found in Mexico, with festivals cropping up in cities around Britain.

Read more here!

Day of the Dead: From Mexico City to London Town
The Day of the Dead celebrates the lives of loved ones who have died while also reminding people about their own mortality.
The festival, which is known as “Dia de Muertos” in Spanish, is traditionally celebrated on November 1 and 2 in Mexico.
Seen as a fusion of Catholic and indigenous cultures, the festival is characterised by altars, visits to graves and celebrations with traditional food and music.
But the festival is no longer only found in Mexico, with festivals cropping up in cities around Britain.

Read more here!

Day of the Dead: From Mexico City to London Town

The Day of the Dead celebrates the lives of loved ones who have died while also reminding people about their own mortality.

The festival, which is known as “Dia de Muertos” in Spanish, is traditionally celebrated on November 1 and 2 in Mexico.

Seen as a fusion of Catholic and indigenous cultures, the festival is characterised by altars, visits to graves and celebrations with traditional food and music.

But the festival is no longer only found in Mexico, with festivals cropping up in cities around Britain.

Read more here!


Santa Muerte, San la Muerte and The Fascinating History of Death Personified in Latin America
I took the photos you see above over a series of trips to Los Angeles to document the fascinating phenomonon of Santa Muerte, a sacred figure worshipped as part of the larger pantheon of Catholic saints in Mexico and now also, with the wave of Mexican migrants, in the United States as well. Thought to have its roots in a syncretism of the beliefs of the native Latin Americans and the colonizing Spanish Catholics, the name literally means “Holy Death” or “Saint Death,” and she—also fondly referred to as “The Skinny Lady—tends to be worshipped by disenfranchised members of society such as criminals, prostitutes, transvestites, the very poor, and other people for whom conventional Catholicism has not provided a better or safer life.Doing some research into the matter, I recently stumbled upon Frank Graziano’s Cultures of Devotion: Folk Saints of Spanish America, which offers fascinating insight into the genesis of both Santa Muerte and the very similar San La Muerte tradition, which developed independently from a similar native/Catholic syncretism in other areas of Latin America; I also would give anything to see one of the bizarre theatrical productions described below:
In the Jesuit missions, the publication of many books included, in 1705, a translation of Juan Eusebio Nieremberg’s De la Diferencia Entre lo Temporal y Eterno.Among the engravings in the book was one of a triumphant personified death, holding a sickle (a variation on the scythe) in one and and an hourglass in the other. Death as a skeleton also appears in another image, which was likewise copied from a European original. 
These engravings document the presence of the Grim Reaper in the missions, but more important in folk culture were theatrical productions staged by the Jesuits for the Guaranís’ religious instruction. The performances often included Christ’s resurrection, with props of skulls and bones and with the Grim Reaper in the supporting cast for dramatization of Christ’s triumph over death. Such performances contributed to fixing the personified image of death within a religious context. 
Almost all the artists in Jesuit missions were Guaranís who were trained by Europeans. These indigenous carvers of saints thought of their work more religiously than artistically: “Image-makers quite literally believed that they were making saints and gods.” This observation is particularly suggestive in the context of San La Muerte, whose traditionalal carvers were likewise creating, not representing, a supernatural power. For the Guaraní mission artists, “The reality of things was not expressed by imitating their visual appearance, as in European art, but by capturing their essence.” The imagery, including the image of death personified, was adopted from European traditions and then invested with this “essence.” The carvings transcend mere representation and become empowered in themselves like amulets.
All of this also brings to mind the wonderful 18th century book La Portentosa Vida de la Muerte (The Astounding Life of Death); more on that here.All photos you see above are from my trips to Los Angeles to document the Santa Muerta phenomenon; for more, click here to see my complete Flickr set.

From the amazing Morbid Anatomy - be sure to check out the blog!

Santa Muerte, San la Muerte and The Fascinating History of Death Personified in Latin America
I took the photos you see above over a series of trips to Los Angeles to document the fascinating phenomonon of Santa Muerte, a sacred figure worshipped as part of the larger pantheon of Catholic saints in Mexico and now also, with the wave of Mexican migrants, in the United States as well. Thought to have its roots in a syncretism of the beliefs of the native Latin Americans and the colonizing Spanish Catholics, the name literally means “Holy Death” or “Saint Death,” and she—also fondly referred to as “The Skinny Lady—tends to be worshipped by disenfranchised members of society such as criminals, prostitutes, transvestites, the very poor, and other people for whom conventional Catholicism has not provided a better or safer life.Doing some research into the matter, I recently stumbled upon Frank Graziano’s Cultures of Devotion: Folk Saints of Spanish America, which offers fascinating insight into the genesis of both Santa Muerte and the very similar San La Muerte tradition, which developed independently from a similar native/Catholic syncretism in other areas of Latin America; I also would give anything to see one of the bizarre theatrical productions described below:
In the Jesuit missions, the publication of many books included, in 1705, a translation of Juan Eusebio Nieremberg’s De la Diferencia Entre lo Temporal y Eterno.Among the engravings in the book was one of a triumphant personified death, holding a sickle (a variation on the scythe) in one and and an hourglass in the other. Death as a skeleton also appears in another image, which was likewise copied from a European original. 
These engravings document the presence of the Grim Reaper in the missions, but more important in folk culture were theatrical productions staged by the Jesuits for the Guaranís’ religious instruction. The performances often included Christ’s resurrection, with props of skulls and bones and with the Grim Reaper in the supporting cast for dramatization of Christ’s triumph over death. Such performances contributed to fixing the personified image of death within a religious context. 
Almost all the artists in Jesuit missions were Guaranís who were trained by Europeans. These indigenous carvers of saints thought of their work more religiously than artistically: “Image-makers quite literally believed that they were making saints and gods.” This observation is particularly suggestive in the context of San La Muerte, whose traditionalal carvers were likewise creating, not representing, a supernatural power. For the Guaraní mission artists, “The reality of things was not expressed by imitating their visual appearance, as in European art, but by capturing their essence.” The imagery, including the image of death personified, was adopted from European traditions and then invested with this “essence.” The carvings transcend mere representation and become empowered in themselves like amulets.
All of this also brings to mind the wonderful 18th century book La Portentosa Vida de la Muerte (The Astounding Life of Death); more on that here.All photos you see above are from my trips to Los Angeles to document the Santa Muerta phenomenon; for more, click here to see my complete Flickr set.

From the amazing Morbid Anatomy - be sure to check out the blog!

Santa Muerte, San la Muerte and The Fascinating History of Death Personified in Latin America

I took the photos you see above over a series of trips to Los Angeles to document the fascinating phenomonon of Santa Muerte, a sacred figure worshipped as part of the larger pantheon of Catholic saints in Mexico and now also, with the wave of Mexican migrants, in the United States as well. Thought to have its roots in a syncretism of the beliefs of the native Latin Americans and the colonizing Spanish Catholics, the name literally means “Holy Death” or “Saint Death,” and she—also fondly referred to as “The Skinny Lady—tends to be worshipped by disenfranchised members of society such as criminals, prostitutes, transvestites, the very poor, and other people for whom conventional Catholicism has not provided a better or safer life.

Doing some research into the matter, I recently stumbled upon Frank Graziano’s Cultures of Devotion: Folk Saints of Spanish America, which offers fascinating insight into the genesis of both Santa Muerte and the very similar San La Muerte tradition, which developed independently from a similar native/Catholic syncretism in other areas of Latin America; I also would give anything to see one of the bizarre theatrical productions described below:
In the Jesuit missions, the publication of many books included, in 1705, a translation of Juan Eusebio Nieremberg’s De la Diferencia Entre lo Temporal y Eterno.Among the engravings in the book was one of a triumphant personified death, holding a sickle (a variation on the scythe) in one and and an hourglass in the other. Death as a skeleton also appears in another image, which was likewise copied from a European original. 
These engravings document the presence of the Grim Reaper in the missions, but more important in folk culture were theatrical productions staged by the Jesuits for the Guaranís’ religious instruction. The performances often included Christ’s resurrection, with props of skulls and bones and with the Grim Reaper in the supporting cast for dramatization of Christ’s triumph over death. Such performances contributed to fixing the personified image of death within a religious context. 
Almost all the artists in Jesuit missions were Guaranís who were trained by Europeans. These indigenous carvers of saints thought of their work more religiously than artistically: “Image-makers quite literally believed that they were making saints and gods.” This observation is particularly suggestive in the context of San La Muerte, whose traditionalal carvers were likewise creating, not representing, a supernatural power. For the Guaraní mission artists, “The reality of things was not expressed by imitating their visual appearance, as in European art, but by capturing their essence.” The imagery, including the image of death personified, was adopted from European traditions and then invested with this “essence.” The carvings transcend mere representation and become empowered in themselves like amulets.

All of this also brings to mind the wonderful 18th century book La Portentosa Vida de la Muerte (The Astounding Life of Death); more on that here.

All photos you see above are from my trips to Los Angeles to document the Santa Muerta phenomenon; for more, click here to see my complete Flickr set.

From the amazing Morbid Anatomy - be sure to check out the blog!