When I sieved the ash for her bones, I kept a piece and broke Ma’s necklace to replace it. Black bead for white bone, her rib for my heart.

Funerals are incredibly emotive moments and so many of the patterns we archaeologists draw from them likely reflected instinctual decisions at moments of high emotion. In my own work as an archaeologist, I struggle sometimes to bring those human emotions to the fore–not to mention the gendered and personal relationships which underlie them and which were the texture of the world for the past people I study. I have been thinking for years about what it means to break things at graves and to keep the bones of the recently dead out and in circulation. This little tragedy is one way I think that could have happened. // Personal Statement by the Author 

//Cate Frieman @cjfrieman is an archaeologist who spends a lot of time thinking about people, objects and where the borders are between them.//

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