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BASEVI, W. H. F. The Burial of the Dead

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BASEVI, W. H. F. The Burial of the Dead

100.00 150.00

London: George Routledge & Sons, Ltd., 1920. 

First Edition. Hardcover. 8vo. Publisher’s brown cloth with gilt titles to spine. 208 pages.

Some consistent browning to pages. Former owner’s name on free end paper. Sound binding. A near fine copy of a scarce work.

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Basevi’s fundamental thesis is that burial-places were originally created for the weak and the wounded, especially in relation to cave-burials. His premise (which he concerns mainly with primitive man) is that when a hunter was wounded and couldn’t continue with his party, his companions left him in some sort of a shelter (often a cave) with food, weapons, water and other things, with the idea that if he could recover he would be prepared to return to the camp. And if not, he would die and remain in the cave or underground shelter. Basevi keeps returning to this argument throughout the work. He discusses numerous primitive burial customs from many parts of the world, trying to strengthen his argument wherever he can. In some cases he succeeds, however, a lot of questions remain that are not sufficiently answered. Much of the ethnographic material he relies on is from secondary sources. Regardless, it remains a very interesting theory that Basevi puts forth, and one can only admire how much he believed in it.