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

Ágnes Sallay, Imola G. Tar, Zsuzsanna Mikházi and Katalin Takács 2024

Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Digital footprint of European significant cemeteries in the context of their multifunctional use

The functions of cemeteries have been altered over the past decades. Urban growth, climate change and covid have fundamentally changed the way we think about cemeteries. In our previous research, we found that the primary function of cemeteries (burial place, memorial site) has not changed, but the secondary (green infrastructure, climate protection, cultural heritage protection) and tertiary functions (education, tourism, recreation, community service) have emerged. Multifunctional use and the enhancement of these functions require that cemeteries collect data related to each of these fields, […]

Ann Tandy-Treiber 2024

University of Minnesota

Bodying forth the enslaved in the heart of Manhattan: the African Burial Ground National Monument

The origins, rediscovery, and preservation of the African Burial Ground in lower Manhattan represents a multi-layered view of the experience of people of African descent in the area, from enslaved and free black people in the colonial era to late 20th and early 21st century African Americans who became involved and invested in the discovery, protection, and preservation of this important site. Lower Manhattan in New York City is a palimpsest of the history of European conquest, […]

Brice Molo 2024

Groupe de Sociologie Pragmatique et Réflexive (GSPR), École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS),  Paris

Necropolitics and legitimization of mourning: analysis of the processes of recognizing and patrimonializing victims of disasters in Cameroon

This communication delves into the process of identifying individuals who perished in disasters in Cameroon, focusing on two specific events: the Nsam fire on February 14, 1998, in Yaoundé, resulting in the loss of over 300 lives, and the Eséka train derailment on October 21, 2016, causing the death of more than 80 people. The study explores the various stages of recognizing the deceased and victims of the Nsam disaster, initially accused of being thieves before gaining national recognition marked by the declaration of a national day of mourning. […]

David Ocón and Wei Ping Young 2024

Singapore Management University

Placemaking heritage sites in the margins: re-thinking urban burial spaces in Singapore

Inexorable growth has dramatically transformed the city-state of Singapore. From a modest colonial entrepot in the 1950s with a population of barely one million, despite its land scarcity, Singapore has expanded to embrace over 6 million residents today with a GDP per capita of over $80,000, one of the highest in the world. In that remarkable process, however, Singapore has lost over 90% of its cemeteries and graveyards, and with them, a large part of the natural resources that enveloped them, […]

Eglė Bazaraitė 2024

Vilnius Gediminas Technical University

Programming burial landscapes: regulations and practices

This study examines the regulatory frameworks and landscape designs of burial grounds in contemporary Lithuania, focusing particularly on the legal documents and municipal regulations governing cemetery maintenance and development. While the majority of regulations target users of the graveyards, designers and administrators are afforded considerable latitude due to the absence of precise guidelines. This flexibility allows for diverse approaches to shaping burial landscapes across municipalities. Although the arbitrary planting of trees, bushes, and shrubs is permitted only upon request, […]

Ian Dungavell 2024

Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust

Seeing the wood for the trees: Grave renewal and memorial management in a historic cemetery

Following the Highgate Cemetery Act 2022, the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust is able to extinguish rights of burial and to disturb human remains in Highgate Cemetery for the purpose of increasing the space for interments and for the conservation of the Cemetery. The Trust may also use appropriately or remove altogether from the Cemetery memorials on such graves. Clearly Parliament recognised that change was necessary to ensure the sustainable future of the Cemetery, but in England the re-use of graves is not yet widely practised, […]

Joeri Mertens 2024

Flanders Heritage

Immortelles, a forgotten funerary flower of the 19th century

When Barthelemy Dagnan bought three plants of the Helichrysum Orientale (= immortelle) in 1815 at the market of Marseille (France) and planted them in his garden, he could not have guessed that in doing so he gave a new twist to the funeral and commemorative culture of the 19th century. The Helichrysum became the commemorative flower of 19th-century Europe and far beyond. As the natural flower disappeared from the economic scene, it remained in memory, well into the 20th century, […]

Ka Nok Lo (Carlos) 2024

University of Macau

To rent or to sell? The transformation of cross-border funerals in Macau and cemetery property transactions of China in the mid-20th century

From the 1950s to the 1960s, China witnessed a significant transformation in private cemetery property rights. Historically, preceding the establishment of the People’s Republic of China and the execution of land reform, the authorities implicitly sanctioned the transaction of lands designated for private cemeteries. The government upheld individual ownership or usufruct rights to these burial grounds, instilling confidence among Macao’s residents, who were under Portuguese colonial dominion, to buy or rent cemetery plots within mainland China. […]

Roger Bowdler 2024

Independent scholar

The Age of Bronze: British cemetery monuments of bronze, c1850-1920

The later 19th and early 20th century saw the erection of numerous opulent cemetery monuments which incorporated bronze sculpture. These ranged from single reliefs to substantial sculptures, such as the dramatic group at Brookwood Cemetery by George Wade to Lady Matilda Pelham-Clinton (d. 1892), in which a grief-stricken mourner weeps over a draped corpse while an angel hovers overhead. They have not been considered as a group before and are notable both for their aesthetic quality and for their special place in the fin de siècle British cemetery. […]

Sora Duly 2024

UMR 7268 ADES, Aix-Marseille Université

From icy waters to the frozen ground: the conflicting case of temporary mass burials in 2011 post-tsunami Japan

On March 11, 2011, the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Tohoku region resulted in the deaths and disappearances of over 22,000 people. The remains had to be managed through a process that included searching for and collecting the bodies, their systematic administrative registration, identification, and the return of their remains to the families for funeral procedures, specifically cremation, in accordance with Japanese funerary customs. However, in the Ishinomaki region, a major coastal city in the Miyagi prefecture, […]

Tim Grady 2024

University of Chester

Exhuming the enemy, losing the past: Britain and the German war dead

During the two world wars, Britain’s wartime enemy lost their lives in all corners of the country. German soldiers and civilians died in internment camps from sickness, disease and wounds, while in the skies above, German airmen died in First World War Zeppelin raids and in even great numbers some 25 years later during the Battle of Britain. Yet there are very few signs of these large-scale losses today. Despite the enemy generally being buried near where they died, […]

Yota Dimitriadi Ros Clow & Carol Brindley 2024

University of Reading & Friends of Newtown Road Cemetery

Performativity and symbolic action: community engagement in two Victorian garden cemeteries in Berkshire

Reading Old Cemetery and Newbury Newtown Road are two early examples of Victorian garden cemeteries set up in Berkshire before 1850. We consider them as sister cemeteries, not only as they are located in the same county, had similar priorities around public health and civic pride when they were setup but also share connections in terms of families or individuals buried in their sites. Both have active special interest volunteer groups and organise regular community engagement events. […]


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