This list includes abstracts from the Colloquium since 2005. Papers from the Virtual Colloquium held in November 2023 are marked [v].

Andy Clayden and Katie Dixon 2006

Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield, UK & Landscape Architect and Postgraduate

Woodland burial: what is the significance of the memorial tree?

The natural burial movement established a new burial aesthetic in which the identity and location of the deceased is potentially known only to the burial ground manager and the family and friends of the deceased.  In the most common form of natural burial the grave is marked by the planting of a tree. There has been very little research on why people choose natural burial either for themselves or their loved ones.  There is also little known about the significance of the memorial tree to the deceased or the family and friends of the deceased.  […]

Bel Deering 2006

University of Sussex, UK

From ASBOs to X-rated: exploring the social diversity of the cemetery

Visitors to cemeteries and churchyards exhibit a wide array of value systems, harbouring perceptions that range from sacred and sombre to scary or seductive. These values impact on behaviour and mean that cemeteries perform social roles varying in scope from a site of mourning to gang territory. The multiple roles, however, are not always complementary. This research examines real and potential conflict, resolution and the influence this has on the cemetery environment. In this paper we take two journeys in pursuit of deeper understanding of the social diversity in cemeteries. […]

Dennis Bilbrey 2006

Federal German Building Authority

The situation of the cemeteries in Berlin and the development of new ideas to preserve their historical substance

The Berlin cemetery scene is marked by a complex cultural heritage administered in a decentralised manner. One hundred and ninety-one cemeteries are used for burials: the municipal Senate Administration runs 69, and 115 are owned by Protestant and Catholic parishes. There are also Jewish, Russian-Orthodox and Muslim burial grounds as well as a British cemetery. All the burial sites together amount to an area of 1,5 % of the whole metropolitan area. The Berlin Senate Administration estimated that about half of the city’s cemetery area is not required. […]

Janet Eldred 2006

York Cemetery Trust

The second funeral: burying ashes and/or placing memorials

A funeral is not just the main event at church, crematorium or cemetery on the day; everything that precedes and follows that event is part of the funeral process. There is often another ceremony – freer in form and content, often smaller and more intimate – for the burial/scattering of ashes, planting of memorial trees, placing of memorial benches, erection of headstones, etc., after the first funeral. Here, families can take a greater role in saying goodbye to their loved one, […]

Leonie Kellaher 2006

The Cities Institute, London Metropolitan University, UK

Cosmopolitan ‘rootedness’ and the ethnic cemetery

Processes implicated in globalisation are focusing attention on identities in a world where traditional ideas of people as members of fixed, distinct societies and cultures no longer hold. For some incoming and settled groups the cemetery can be a liminal space engendering cosmopolitan engagement, through evocation of place of origin whilst reflecting the genesis of a new situational identity. Geography and chronology are reshaped and history becomes spatial in cemeteries where burial has overtaken the repatriation option after a death. […]

Ronnie Scott 2006

Independent researcher

The cemetery and the city: the origins of the Glasgow Necropolis, 1825-1857

The Glasgow Necropolis, the first garden or ornamental cemetery in Scotland, opened in spring 1833 on what had been a private park, on a hill opposite the city’s medieval cathedral. The cemetery was developed by the Merchants’ House, one of the two burgess institutions in the city, as both a civic amenity and a way of turning an unproductive asset into a profitable concern. The Necropolis soon became a significant cultural enterprise, attracting the custom of the emerging middle classes and the attention of visitors to the city. […]


The Cemetery Research Group runs two events a year: in May and in November. Follow the links and send in an abstract