Lisa White

PhD Student


Dissertation title:

Determining death: investigating the selection processes for mortuary rites in Neolithic Ireland.”


Prof. Eileen Murphy and Dr. Will Megarry


Northern Bridge Consortium

Dissertation topic:

This project will investigate the determining factors (e.g. age, sex, origin or cultural association) which informed the selection processes for the various mortuary rites (cremation, inhumation, primary/secondary burial, and excarnation) undertaken at selected burial sites in Ireland throughout the Neolithic period (c.4000–2500 BC). A point of focus will be the evidence of cutmarks on human remains found at passage tombs and investigating the processes involved in the defleshing or dismembering of the dead. Identifying the variety of funerary rites undertaken at these site through the application of modern scientific techniques (bioerosion, osteoarchaeological analysis, strontium isotope analysis and GIS) and determining who was selected for these rites, will provide insight into the social, cultural and political dynamics of these communities and how they interacted with their dead.


Osteoarchaeology, funerary archaeology, paleopathology, mortuary rituals and concepts of personhood.