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. This is relevant, as this particular field of research assumes that it is possible to learn about past sociocultural and socio-economic phenomena and their chronological development by studying related artefacts visible on cemeteries. While the exact nature of such potential explanatory power is disputed in research, the author of this PhD thesis emphasizes that such approaches would require a more precise knowledge about how these artefacts came to be within their particular spatial context. Only if one understands this genesis, the meaning of such assemblage can be judged. The preliminary findings to be presented include a descriptive statistical analysis of the collected data and a geo-spatial visualization, and analysis of the actual distribution of artefacts within the cemeteries, across national and natural borders. They allow hypothesizing ‘neighbouring and emulation’ effects regarding the choice of material and design of grave-markers and provide indications for further research into related conventions, fashion, consumerism and practicability in grave and grave marker design.


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