The Cemetery Research Group aims to expand an understanding of current and past funeral culture in the UK and around the world

Three men in front of a wall of niches
Cemetery in Santiago, Chile (photo by I. Amenbar, unsplash)

Every culture must devise ways of attending to mortal remains. The Cemetery Research Group (CRG) takes an interdisciplinary approach in researching how emotional, religious and social concerns have been framed by economic and political imperatives.

Across the world, traditional practices have been gradually overtaken by the need to operate at scale, as populations move from rural to urban settlements. Dealing with the dead has become the purview of professional managers, planners and technological innovators. 

The highly charged significance of mortal remains means that societal responses to the dead can become points of coercion and conflict, celebrating or supressing identity. 

Scholars from around the globe are engaged in cemetery studies, broadly defined, and there is a substantial and growing bibliography.


Papers are invited for the International Conference on Cemetery Studies, which will be hosted by the Harokopio University of Athens, Greece, on the 18th-20th April 2024. This in-person event invites papers on various aspects of cemeteries (end of 18th century onwards) including history, art and  culture, anthropology, geography, social studies and cemetery tourism. 


The 25th Cemeteries Colloquium will be taking place on Friday 24th May 2024. This face-to-face meeting invites speakers with a particular interest in the practice of burial and all forms of burial space, and attracts international speakers with papers grounded in the humanities and social sciences. 

Two tightly-packed rows of headstones for cremated remains
Ripon Cemetery, 2013 (CRG Collection)

Frequently Asked Questions

How many cemeteries are there in the UK? How many people are cremated? What’s direct cremation all about, and what’s green burial? We have answers to frequently asked questions about funeral practices in the UK.