The Buried Soul: How Humans Invented Death

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9780007291472: The Buried Soul: How Humans Invented Death

From the author of ‘The Prehistory of Sex’ – a coruscating, insightful history of the human soul.

Cannibals, burials, vampires, human sacrifice, bog people – throughout history our ancestors have responded to death in numerous ways. The past has left us numerous relics of these encounters between the dead and those they leave behind: accounts of sacrifices in early histories, rituals that have stood the test of time, bodies discovered in caves and bogs, remains revealed by archaeological digs.

Through these insights into the past, Tim Taylor pieces together evidence of how our ancestors created their universe and asks how we have dealt with the idea of the end and slowly come to create not only a sense of the afterlife but also the soul.

Tim Taylor’s investigation from the earliest remains of burial to funeral rituals in 9th-century Steppes and the mummification of Lenin in Moscow, is a breathtaking combination of research, insight and scholarship that has profound resonance today.

Combining history, archaeology, philosophy, cutting edge science and autobiography, ‘The Buried Soul’ is a radical and unique adventure into the sepulchral world. Constantly illuminating and insightful, it is not only a fascinating investigation into popular science but also a thought-provoking and discursive examination of ourselves.

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Review:

‘Perceptive, radical and elegantly written. His quest for answers takes us on an extraordinary journey, like time travellers in the boneyards of history…All this is achieved with the style of a consummate storyteller.’ Bel Mooney, The Times

‘Like a thriller-writer he deploys cliff-hanging chapter endings. Like a good novelist he is unafraid of human emotion. As an archaeologist he knows how to sort and wash bones. As a thinker he restores dignity to these unnamed bodies by holding them compassionately with his words.’ Michele Roberts, Independent on Sunday

‘Sit back and revel in this riveting exploration of our collective ancestral psyche.’ Sunday Herald

‘Illuminating.’ Scotsman

From the Back Cover:

Archaeologist Timothy Taylor has spent his life sifting through the relics of our ancestor's encounters with death: early historical accounts of sacrifice, ancient rituals with echoes in the present, monumental sarcophagi, and bodies discovered in caves, bogs and on mountains.

In 'The Buried Soul', Taylor brings together evidence of how the ancients saw their universe and asks how we came to have not only a sense of the afterlife but also an image of the soul. After we began to speak, but before we could write, Taylor suggests that early humans, in an astonishingly conceptual leap, divided the body from the spirit that animated it. Thus arose a series of rituals that attempted to placate, tempt, scapegoat, destroy or contain this potentially malevolent spirit.

In Timothy Taylor's radical investigation of the human soul we encounter vampirism, cannibals, near-death experiences, modern day human sacrifice and the mummification of Lenin. His search spans the entire period from our prehistoric evolution to the present and interweaves the author's own experience of bewildering death.

A breathtaking work of narrative power combining cutting-edge science, personal insight and scholarship, 'The Buried Soul' is a radical voyage into sepulchral worlds.

Praise for 'The Prehistory of Sex':

"Taylor has written an illuminating and immensely entertaining account of one of the most fundamental aspects of humanity."
'Mail on Sunday'

"An intelligent, well-researched contribution to our understanding of past societies and, by extension, of how we view ourselves
'Scotland on Sunday'

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Taylor, Timothy
ISBN 10: 0007291477 ISBN 13: 9780007291472
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TIMOTHY TAYLOR
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Timothy Taylor
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