inhumation, early-Roman period, the central Balkans, the funeral archaeology
The author of the paper tried to reconsider the issue of the spread of inhumation in the area of the Central Balkans in the period of early Roman Empire. The opinion of the author was that the existing interpretations had serious deficiencies, as they relied on the culture-history archaeological paradigm. Hence, the model that dominated the Roman archaeology in the territory of former Yugoslavia presupposed that inhumation could be related to the oriental population that had migrated to the area of the Central Balkans, who practiced this treatment of a dead body and spread it within the provincial societies as a part of a general cultural influence. Another view, although lone, considered that inhumation was spread in the course of the Romanization process inspirited by newcomers from Italy and the Western provinces. Both standpoints took migrations and superior cultural influences as the main reasons behind the acceptance and eventual predominance of the inhumation. Contrary to these views, and based on the opinion that burial rites were related to the social structure, the author offered an interpretation which implied that the inhumation rite could be regarded as a means for expression of the redefined social positions that took place in the context of integration of local societies and larger, “global”, Roman socio-political system. In this respect, the acceptance of the inhumation could have meant the break with some parts of the old socio-ideological system and symbolical articulation of the new social roles. This, of course, did not mean that the inhumation should be seen as a practice characteristic for particular social strata, or related exclusively to some social categories. Instead, it should be seen as one among various social strategies that had been used according to the estimated symbolic capital which could have been gained by it.