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

Christoph K. Streb 2019

University of Luxembourg

The materiality and spatiality of graves and grave markers in the Luxembourg-German Border Region: preliminary findings

This paper aims to summarize the preliminary findings of a PhD research project analysing the materiality and spatiality of graves and grave markers on four selected cemeteries in the Luxembourg-German border region. By collecting an extensive set of data of the contemporary assemblage visible on these cemeteries and by analysing it statistically and geo-spatially, it is the intention to understand how this particular material and spatial assemblage came to be and, moreover, what historical archaeologists can learn from such data about the recent past. […]

Elsbeth Robson, Julie Seymour & Trish Green 2019

University of Hull

Forever young? Spaces of burial, cremation and memorialisation of children

The death of children is memorialised variously across cultures and generation, having moved beyond the cemetery in recent decades. When a child dies today there may be multiple material sites of remembrance – the home, the roadside following traffic fatalities, the school gates, central public places, online virtual memorials, as well as traditionally-commemorated places of burial such as cemeteries, graveyards and gardens of remembrance. This exploratory paper uses a spatial lens to seek to understand changing spaces and family practices associated with the public memorialisation of infants and children in urban England. […]

Ioanna Paraskevopoulou 2019

Harokopio University, Athens

The Third Cemetery of Athens: methodology and conceptualization

The Third cemetery of Athens (Greece) is an ordinary, fully-operating public cemetery. It was established in 1938; it is the third and last cemetery owned and managed by the Municipality of Athens; the only one located at the west side of the city; and the city’s biggest cemetery, the massive cemetery of the metropolis. This paper is based on primary sources data (Laws, Regulations, City Council minutes [1936-2003]) gathered and studied during the first year of the PhD research on the Third cemetery. […]

Ivor Perry 2019

University of Durham

‘Gone to a foreign land to die’: memorialising WW1 dead on family headstones

This paper is drawn from a case study which in turn forms part of a larger project on the religiosity of ordinary people in WW1, as seen through their headstones. The bulk of the project data lies in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) headstones, which form the first, mass, collection of British headstone inscriptions. The study of CWGC headstone Personal Inscriptions is itself threaded through with evidential problems, and contested information. For example, present research suggests that around 50% of identifiable graves have no inscription at all. […]

Michael Freeman 2019

Honorary Research Fellow, National Museum of Wales

Flowers on graves in Wales

A very detailed study of about 1500 accounts of tours of Wales has shown that the custom of placing of flowers on graves was practiced over most of Wales probably as early as the 17th century and definitely during the 18th and 19th centuries. There is very little evidence for this custom in England, Scotland and Ireland until it became popular in England from the 1830s, probably as a result of the opening of large non-denominational cemeteries on the edge of towns. […]

Susan Buckham 2019

Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy, University of Stirling

The Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016: What happens next?

Drawing from consultation responses and the policy guidance currently in progress, this paper will explore the likely short-term impact of the 2016 Scottish Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act on cemetery management practices. In 2016, the Scottish Government updated the primary legislation governing burial and cemetery management. This Act ended the tradition of burial in perpetuity, enabled grave reuse and sought to clarify procedures for burial authorities to deal with ‘ownerless’ graves and gravestones across all types of burial sites. […]


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