Annual Workshop of Archon Mortuary Studies: Ethics and Diversity – 17 November 2022

Annual Mortuary Workshop: Ethics and Diversity – 17 November 2022

Date: 17 November 2022, 10:00-13:00*

Location: Room 1315-0049, Harmonie Building, University of Groningen


Credits: 1 ECT

This workshop is the annual event of the Archon Mortuary Studies group. This workshop will bring together local, national and international specialists in mortuary studies, with a particular focus on prehistoric and hunter-gatherer archaeology. The theme of the workshop is mortuary archaeology, the importance of ethics, and understandings of diversity in the past. The workshop will begin with short talks focused on these themes, within the regions of both Europe and East Asia. Prof. Liv Nilsson Stutz will then present a keynote lecture entitled ‘Between Objects of Science and Lived Lives: human remains in museums and research’. Participants are invited to join this discussion which will explore future possibilities and concerns for these lines of analysis—mortuary studies, ethics, diversity and prehistory. After this workshop, students will understand the importance of ethics in mortuary archaeology, and the importance of mortuary archaeology in exploring diversity in prehistory. Students will also understand how to critically assess mortuary data and its appropriateness for analysis.

Participation by students, early career researchers and heritage professionals is encouraged. The meeting will be livestreamed.

Assessment consists of a reflective report of 3000 words on both the required reading and the workshop itself. The report should focus on current approaches to mortuary archaeology, as reflected in the literature and the workshop contents, and students may choose to focus on one or multiple topics (ethics, diversity, prehistory). Deadline is December 17th.


10:00 Coffee reception, GIA canteen (Poststraat 6)

10:40 Departure from Poststraat to workshop venue. If unfamiliar with the RUG/Harmonie building, you can join here before

11:00  E. Lawton-Matthews – word of welcome

11:05 Dr. Hans Peeters (University of Groningen) – The fabric of life and death: some reflections on the ‘human spirit’ among Mesolithic hunter-gatherers

11:20 Dr. Ilona Bausch (Leiden University) – Adornment and identity: regional and temporal variability as seen in Jomon mortuary contexts

11:35 Prof. Daan Raemaekers (University of Groningen) – Burial ritual and isotopes: evidence of diversity in the Early Neolithic Swifterbant culture of the Netherlands

11:50 Prof. Simon Kaner (University of East Anglia, SISJAC) – TBC

12:05 Prof. Sofia Voutsaki (University of Groningen) – Chair, general questions

12:15 Prof. Liv Nilsson Stutz (Linnaeus University) – Between Objects of Science and Lived Lives: human remains in museums and research

13:00* Lunch (Canteen @Harmonie building, at own cost)

*After lunch. At 14:30, participants are invited to attend the PhD ceremony of E. Lawton-Matthews in the Grand Aula, Academy building, where she will defend her thesis entitled Hunter-gatherers in Transition—Cultural diversity and change as seen through the mortuary practices of Hokkaido hunter-gatherers during the transition to agriculture in the Japanese archipelago. The ceremony can also be streamed at:

Credits: ARCHON members can receive 1 ECT for reading literature upfront, attending the workshop and write a paper following the workshop (^^).

Required reading for students:

Chapters in Stevenson, A. (ed.), (2022), The Oxford Handbook of Museum Archaeology; Oxford Academic:
– Fforde, C. et al., Emotion and the return of ancestors: Repatriation as affective practice 
– Okello Abungu, G., Victims or victors: Universal museums and the debate on return and restitution, Africa’s perspective

Nilsson Stutz, L., (2016), Building Bridges Between Burial Archaeology and the Archaeology of Death: Where is the Archaeological Study of the Dead Going? Current Swedish Archaeology, 24: 13-35.

Chapters in Cummings, V., Jordan, P. and Zvelebil, M. (eds), (2014) The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology and Anthropology of Hunter-Gatherers; Oxford Academic, including
– Nilsson Stutz, L., Mortuary Practices

Chapters in Nilsson Stutz, L. and Tarlow, S. (eds), (2013) The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Death and Burial; Oxford Academic, including
– Watkins, J., How Ancients become Ammunition: Politics and Ethics of the Human Skeleton

Registration: Registration via email: and please inform her that you are an ARCHON member. Attendance is limited to 30 people.