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The Archaeology of Death in Post-medieval Europe

Book Description

Historical burial grounds are an enormous archaeological resource and have the potential to inform studies not only of demography or the history of disease and mortality, but also histories of the body, of religious and other beliefs about death, of changing social relationships, values and aspirations.

In the last decades, the intensive urban development and a widespread legal requirement to undertake archaeological excavation of historical sites has led to a massive increase in the number of post-medieval graveyards and burial places that have been subjected to archaeological investigation. The archaeology of the more recent periods, which are comparatively well documented, is no less interesting and important an area of study than prehistoric periods.

This volume offers a range of case studies and reflections on aspects of death and burial in post-medieval Europe. Looking at burial goods, the spatial aspects of cemetery organisation and the way that the living interact with the dead, contributors who have worked on sites from Central, North and West Europe present some of their evidence and ideas. The coherence of the volume is maintained by a substantial integrative introduction by the editor, Professor Sarah Tarlow.

“This book is a ‘first’ and a necessary one. It is an exciting and far-ranging collection of studies on post-medieval burial practice across Europe that will most certainly be used extensively”
Professor Howard Williams

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Contents
  5. 1 Introduction: Death and Burial in Post-medieval Europe
    1. 1.1 Problems We Share
    2. 1.2 Aspirations we Share: The Value and Potential of Post-medieval Mortuary Archaeology
    3. 1.3 Health and Demography
    4. 1.4 Social Meanings
    5. 1.5 Politics, Ethics and Anxieties in the Treatment of the Post-medieval Dead
    6. 1.6 Challenges for the Future
      1. 1.6.1 Relevance
      2. 1.6.2 An End to Uncontrolled Data Collection
      3. 1.6.3 Safeguarding, Recording, Preserving
      4. 1.6.4 Working with Communities
      5. 1.6.5 Engagement with other Subdisciplines
    7. 1.7 This Volume
    8. References
  6. 2 The Human Body as Material Culture – Linköping Cathedral Churchyard in the Early Modern Period
    1. Introduction
    2. 2.1 Previous Research
    3. 2.2 The Cemetery as a Social Arena
    4. 2.3 The Grave and the Individual
    5. 2.4 Into an Early Modern Culture?
    6. 2.5 Conclusions
    7. References
  7. 3 Approaches to Post-medieval Burial in England: Past and Present
    1. Introduction
    2. 3.1 Archaeological Context
    3. 3.2 Logistical and Ethical Issues
    4. 3.3 Review of Selected Projects
      1. 3.3.1 Christ Church, Spitalfields, London
      2. 3.3.2 St Nicholas’ Church Sevenoaks, Kent
      3. 3.3.3 St Bartholomew’s Church, Penn, Wolverhampton
      4. 3.3.4 St Luke’s Church, Old Street, Islington, London
      5. 3.3.5 Royal Hospital, Greenwich, London
      6. 3.3.6 St George’s Church, Bloomsbury, London
      7. 3.3.7 St Pancras Old Church Burial Ground
      8. 3.3.8 New Bunhills Burial Ground, Southwark, London
    5. 3.4 Advisory Bodies, Guidelines and Research Agendas
      1. 3.4.1 APABE (Advisory Panel on Archaeological Burial Grounds in England)
      2. 3.4.2 Archaeology of Burial Vaults (ADCA 2010)
      3. 3.4.3 Sampling Large Burial Grounds
      4. 3.4.4 Research Agendas
    6. 3.5 Final Thoughts
    7. References
  8. 4 The Impact of Epidemics on Funerary Practices in Modern France (16th – 18 – 18th Centuries)
    1. 4.1 Mortality during the Modern Period
      1. 4.1.1 Ordinary Mortality
      2. 4.1.2 Extraordinary Mortality
    2. 4.2 Documented Sites
      1. 4.2.1 Fédons Cemetery at Lambesc (Gard)
      2. 4.2.2 The Cemetery at Saint Catherine’s Hospice at Verdun (Meuse)
      3. 4.2.3 The Hospital Cemetery of the Hospitaliers of Saint John of Jerusalem at Epinal
      4. 4.2.4 The Cemetery on the Island of Saint Louis in Boulogne-sur-Mer
      5. 4.2.5 The Parish Cemetery at Issoudun (Indre)
    3. 4.3 Overview of Funerary Practices
    4. 4.4 The Transmission of Illnesses
    5. 4.5 The Urban and Rural Environments: How was Mortality Dealt with During Epidemics?
    6. 4.6 The Memory of Crisis Episodes
    7. 4.7 Conclusion
    8. References
  9. 5 The Co-Existence of Two Traditions in the Territory of Present-Day Latvia in the 13th–18th Centuries: Burial in Dress and in a Shroud
    1. Introduction
    2. 5.1 The Christianisation of Latvia and Changes in the Form of Burial
    3. 5.2 Burial in Dress and with Grave Goods
    4. 5.3 Cultural Aspects of the Burial Customs
    5. 5.4 Conclusions
    6. References
  10. 6 Fashioning Death: Clothing, Memory and Identity in 16th Century Swedish Funerary Practice
    1. Introduction
    2. 6.1 Remembering the King
    3. 6.2 Brides for a King
    4. References
  11. 7 Tradition-based Concepts of Death, Burial and Afterlife: A Case from Orthodox Setomaa, South-Eastern Estonia
    1. Introduction
    2. 7.1 Funeral Rites and Burial in Estonia – Archaeology, Folklore and Living Practices
    3. 7.2 Setomaa –the Case Study
    4. 7.3 The Person and the Meetings
    5. 7.4 Grave Goods, Clothing and Footwear
    6. 7.5 The Cemetery and Meals on the Graves
    7. 7.6 Meeting the Departed
    8. 7.7 The World Beyond
    9. 7.8 Factors Forming the Afterlife
    10. 7.9 Discussion and Conclusions
    11. 7.10 Epilogue: The Departure
    12. References
  12. 8 Religion, Status and Taboo. Changing Funeral Rites in Catholic and Protestant Germany
    1. Introduction
    2. 8.1 The Cemetery and its Organisation
      1. 8.1.1 Medieval Cemeteries
      2. 8.1.2 Post-medieval Cemeteries
    3. 8.2 The Individual Grave in the Burial Place
      1. 8.2.1 Medieval Graves
      2. 8.2.2 Post-medieval Graves
    4. 8.3 The Appearance of Burials
    5. 8.4 The Appearance of Post-medieval Burials
      1. 8.4.1 Clothing
      2. 8.4.2 Religious Objects
      3. 8.4.3 Objects of Taboo
      4. 8.4.4 Further Grave Goods
    6. 8.5 Conclusion
    7. References
  13. 9 Hiding the Body: Ordering Space and Allowing Manipulation of Body Parts within Modern Cemeteries
    1. Introduction
    2. 9.1 Research into Landscape Cemeteries and Modern Funerary Behaviour
    3. 9.2 Dealing with Re-deposited Human Bone
    4. 9.3 Material and Method
    5. 9.4 Cemetery Working Practices at Assistens Kirkegård
    6. 9.5 Deposition Patterns of Charnel Deposits
    7. 9.6 Manipulation within a Family Grave Plot
    8. 9.7 Dealing with Body Parts
    9. 9.8 The Manipulation of Intact Burials
    10. 9.9 Concealing Illicit Burials?
    11. 9.10 Exploring the Manipulation of Remains in Landscape Cemeteries
    12. References
  14. 10 Burial Customs in the Northern Ostrobothnian Region (Finland) from the Late Medieval Period to the 20th Century. Plant Remains in Graves
    1. Introduction
    2. 10.1 Burial Customs at Ii Hamina
    3. 10.2 Furnishing of the Coffins in Early Modern Ostrobothnia – Archaeological Results
    4. 10.3 Ethnographic References to Plants in Funeral Practices
    5. 10.4 Conclusion
    6. Acknowledgements
    7. References
  15. 11 Death and Burial in Post-medieval Prague
    1. Introduction
    2. 11.1 The Burial Rite in Baroque Bohemia
    3. 11.2 Modern Period Cemeteries in Bohemia
    4. 11.3 Prague Castle and the Church of St John the Baptist
    5. 11.4 Analysis of the Grave Goods
    6. 11.5 Typology of Grave Goods
    7. 11.6 Burial Customs in Bohemia after the Thirty Years’ War: A Summary
    8. Sources
    9. References
  16. List of Figures
  17. List of Tables
  18. Index