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Renzo Duin


Death is not the end, but rather a beginning. Drawing on historical sources and ethnographic fieldwork with the Wayana Indigenous People of French Guiana, this essay explores the interrelationships embodied during mortuary practices and personal treatment of the dead. This research emerged from questions raised during the archaeological excavations at Anse à la Gourde, Guadeloupe, and, in turn, contributes to the study of burial practices in Caribbean archaeology. More broadly, an understanding of Wayana mortuary practices, illustrated with exceptional photographs and indigenous narratives, is to further the conceptualization of the complexity, wide variety and individualization of personal treatment of the dead, and the interrelationships with ancestors and other social others in Guiana, Amazonia, and beyond.


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Duin, R. (2024). Ethnoarchaeology of Mortuary Practices: Relationship Bodies in the Carib-speaking Neo-Tropics. Revista De Arqueología Americana, (41), 143–190.
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Renzo Duin, International Center for Amazonian Indigenous Knowledge (AMIK)

Dr. Renzo S. Duin, founder of the International Center for Amazonian Indigenous Knowledge (AMIK) is an anthropologist and archaeologist with a regional focus on the Caribbean and Amazonia. Between 1995 and 2000 he was a member of the Leiden University excavation team at Anse à la Gourde, Guadeloupe. His first fieldwork among the Wayana of French Guiana was conducted in 1996. In his 2009 Ph.D. dissertation, Duin posits that the socio-political organization of the Wayana Indigenous Peoples of the Guiana Highlands is more complex than generally assumed and during ritual gatherings (eputop) become a regionally integrated society centred upon the community roundhouse (tukusipan).