Deep in the heart of North Yorkshire, at a place called Walkington Wold, there lies a rather unusual burial ground, an Anglo-Saxon execution cemetery. Twelve skeletons were unearthed by archaeologists, ten without skulls, later examination of the skeletons revealed that their owners were all subjected to judicial execution by decapitation, one of which required several blows.
Similar fates have befallen other wretched souls, the undignified burial of suicides - in the Middle Ages, the most profound of sins - and the desecration of their bodies, go largely unrecorded. Whilst plague pits, vast cemeteries where victims of the Black Death were tossed into the ground, their bodies festering one on top of another, are only today betraying their secrets.
Although unpalatable to some, these burial grounds are an important part of our social heritage. They have been fashioned as much by the people who founded and used them, as by the buildings, gravestones and other features which they contain. They are records of social change; the symbols engraved upon individual memorials convey a sense of inherent belief systems, as they were constructed, adapted or abandoned depending on people’s needs.
Burying the Dead explores how these attitudes, practices and beliefs about death have undergone continual change. By studying the development of society’s funerary spaces, the author will reveal how we continue to reinforce our relationships with the dead, in a constant and on-going effort to maintain a bond with them.
What they say....
5 out of 5 stars
A fascinating look at funerary customs throughout history and spanning multiple cultures.
I have always been interested in death/dying/funerary & burial customs so as soon as I saw this book I knew I had to give it a read. The book gives great detail and information on all kinds of burials, from Pagan, the evolution of the christian burial, to burials at sea. There's even a section giving details and history of famous/infamous/large/old graveyards and even includes some information on pet cemeteries. I especially loved the "Boneyards of Steel" chapter as I've always enjoyed visiting (when possible) or reading about vehicle graveyards. Trains, planes, tanks, warships, and automobiles also need a final resting place and I was thrilled to see a chapter dedicated to these unusual graveyards included. The appendix on graveyard symbolism was also very interesting.
Well written incredibly informative book, the photos are both morbid and beautiful, I just loved everything about this book, write one 5 times as long and I'll gladly throw my money at you for it.
NetGalley, Paula Cwikla
So when it comes down to burying the dead no one really thinks about the process or the ritual that the whole aspect of burying the dead had to go through. I loved all the information that this book contained! This book is really researched to a "T". The author researched many different perspectives and knew her history! I loved that she went through so many different types of burials to some that I knew of like the ship burials and then the sky burials that I literally had no inkling about it.
I also loved how she pointed out cultural aspects and religious aspects to the type of burials that occured. I loved that the author went for it, that she covered a lot of information and the book was not too lengthy. I gained a lot of insight and really enjoyed the book. I definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting insight into the history and practices of burying the dead.
NetGalley, Amber Machado
This book was amazing! I have a rather weird obsession with burial rites, death, true crime and anything related to those topics. I have leant so much about burial rites, it's amazing and I am certain I can use more authentic burial methods to my own writing now as well!
A perfect book, yet some might consider its topic rather macabre but especially for Halloween, I'd consider it a Must Read.
NetGalley, James Walter
I'm glad I had the opportunity to read Burying the Dead: An Archaeological History of Burial Grounds, Graveyards and Cemeteries by Lorraine Evans. It's very well researched and put together.
NetGalley, Lauren Stoolfire
It is a fascinating book which covers an often taboo topic comprehensively. I learned a lot and found this book provides an insight into an often overlooked aspect of shared history.
NetGalley, Louise Gray
This is a fascinating investigation into how humans deal with death, from prehistory till current times, we bury, cremate or preserve the bodies of those we love and revere after they pass. An exploration into the social, religious and class structures that determine where our physical bodies go after death.
NetGalley, Rosemary Smith
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Where to begin with this utterly gripping and thoroughly researched book? Truly. I learned so much about different cultures and rituals through burials, ancient through medieval to current times...the quality and quantity of information is mind blowing. From barrow mounds to ship burials to prostitute cemeteries to ossuaries to executions to sky burials, it's all here. And then some.
Religion plays a huge role in burial, of course. Status and class used to be as well, as evinced by what was/was not buried with the person. To this day many cannot afford to bury their dead and do otherwise. Soldiers, prisoners, lepers and people at sea need(ed) to be buried, too. Some cultures use coffins, some do not. Some religions bury, some cremate. Unfortunately, mass graves have resulted from genocide, sacrifices, plagues and war.
It may sound morbid but the Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic is fascinating to see, as are the Jewish cemetery in Prague and Capuchin crypt in Rome. Many European churchyards are evocative and set in beautiful surroundings. When exploring them I always wonder what the people who were buried there were like, what they did, how they lived. The author discusses this, too, as well as evidence about how people died.
Green burials and other modern options are discussed at the end. Pore over the fascinating photographs.
Those intrigued by history, especially the history of death and burial, will be undoubtedly find this book rewarding. Though the topic may have the appearance of ghoul, the broad takeaway is learning more about people.
NetGalley, Brenda Carleton