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Department of Archaeology

"The Useful Corpse: an interdisciplinary dialogue on how we live with death"

Jennie Bradbury (, Joy Eddy (

 Throughout history societies have manipulated human remains into something meaningful for the living.  This process and its associated subtleties are often lost within archaeological literature due to the plethora of specialist reports, which break funerary practice into its constituent parts.  However, it is clear that a complex relationship between humans, animals and material culture existed within the past as lived and that these continued to be modified in the context of death.  This workshop aims to examine processes of manipulating the dead and their use as a resource from the moment of death to long-term curation of human remains, taking a comparative approach across various landscapes over the longue durée.  It will highlight the importance of reflecting on how modern populations live with and use the deceased and the impact that this may have on archaeological interpretation.  In addition, the workshop will include discussions on aspects of the use of the body during and following death from perspectives outside archaeology, emphasising the need for an interdisciplinary approach to death studies.

Workshop 8th October 2010 9.30-18.30 Joachim Room, Hild Bede College

'The Dead Still Live: A workshop on the role of the human body in funerary ritual from the Neolithic to modern day'

8.45-9.30am Registration

9.30-10.00am General Introduction

10.00-10.30 Dr. Chris Fowler (Newcastle): "Interpreting the motivations behind and effects of the manipulation of dead bodies and body parts in early Neolithic Britain"
10.30-11.00 Dr. Karina Croucher (Manchester): "Display, decay and the use of bodies in the Neolithic Near East"
11.00-11.30 Jennie Bradbury (Durham): "The Body as a Monument in the 4th-3rd millennium Levant"
11.30-12.00 Prf. Ian Armit (Bradford): "Resonances between 'headhunting' cultures past and (nearly) present"

12.00-1.00pm Lunch

1.00-1.30 Dr. E-J Graham (St. Andrews): "The Visible and Invisible Corpse in Roman Italy"
1.30-2.00 Gordon Raeburn (Durham): "And yet no burialls to be within ye Kirk': the disposal of the dead in the Scottish Reformation"

2.00-2.30 Tea Break

2.30-3.00 Christie Cox Willis (Sheffield): "Picture Perfect: grief, mourning and perpetual memory in the Victorian way of death"
3.00-3.30 Hannah Rumble (Durham): "Natural Burial: a contemporary British burial innovation and archaeological interpretation"
3.30-4.30 Concluding Remarks and Discussion

4.30-5.30 Wine Reception

For further details and to confirm/express interest for attendance at this workshop please email Jennie Bradbury ( or Joy Eddy (