Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Alexander A. Bauer

Subject Categories

Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity | Anthropology | Archaeological Anthropology | Arts and Humanities | Biological and Physical Anthropology | European History | History | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Croatian History, Liburnia, Dalmatia, Zadar, New Archaeology, Post-Processual Archaeology


Mortuary archaeology is known to be the study of human remains and burials. The primary focus of this work has been to study all of the elements associated in burials to learn more about the burial practices and rituals in a group’s culture, however, there is much more potential in studying burial sites than just learning about a group’s burial rituals and practices. This thesis will demonstrate that it is indeed possible to make different inferences about the rest of people’s daily lives, and the truth, based from materials found in studying burials alone. For some groups without much existing and stable historical or cultural context, this could be the primary way of reconstructing their lives. For example, the Liburnian people from the Late Bronze Age did not leave behind any writings of their own so their historical record has relied on the writings of others. As a result, prior to excavations, not much could be said of who these people were and how they lived. Since excavations of burials began, much more has been learned about these people and archaeologists have been able to create a more accurate record of their lives. Before looking into how mortuary archaeology has helped Croatian people learn more about their Liburnian predecessors, this thesis will also revisit discourse on mortuary archaeology to emphasize how important it has been in helping shape methodology and theory within archaeology. Mortuary archaeology has evolved in such a way that it ultimately allows us to now ask better questions and make better inferences about the groups that we are studying and potentially allow us to help other groups with unreliable historical records learn more about their past as well.