Archon Workshop: Mortuary studies—diversity and ethics

Activity: Organising and attending an event Organising and contributing to an event Academic


Archon Workshop: Mortuary studies—diversity and ethics
November 17th 2022, 10–14:00*
Venue: University of Groningen, Harmonie building, Room 1315-0049
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.
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).

Attendance and written report = 1 ECTS
Attendance limited to 30. Registration via email:
Participation by students, early career researchers and heritage professionals is encouraged.

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

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

Workshop venue: Room 1315-0049, Harmonie building
11:00 E. Lawton-Matthews Welcome
11:05 Dr. Hans Peeters
(Uni. 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 (Uni. of Groningen) Burial ritual and isotopes: evidence of diversity in the Early Neolithic Swifterbant culture of the Netherlands
11:50 Prof. Simon Kaner
(Uni. of East Anglia, SISJAC) TBC
12:05 Prof. Sofia Voutsaki (Uni. 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 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:

Event typeWorkshop
LocationGroningen, NetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • mortuary practices
  • mortuary studies
  • Ethics in research
  • diversity
  • hunters-and-gatherers
  • Mesolithicum
  • archaeology of Japan
  • Japanese prehistory