Death-Defying Cistercians: Buildwas Abbey II


DSC04324 Spolia at Buildwas, including fragments of grave-slab

I’ve recently heard it said that British archaeologists are adverse to displaying the dead, more so than the Irish and ‘Catholic’ nations. It is argued that popular religious dispositions correlate directly and simply with attitudes and practices surrounding the excavation, investigation, display and publication of cemeteries and graves, including human skeletal material. However, I think this fundamentally misunderstands not only the colonial legacy of appropriation and display of mortuary remains, but also the complex nature of British death ways and  and their rich non-cadaverous, cenotaphic, engagements with mortality. Taking these into account helps us to appreciate why mortuary dimensions are often subtle and yet ubiquitous in our contemporary heritage environments: museums, ancient monuments and historic buildings.

DSC04297 Note the graves, hardly mentioned in the heritage literature

2 years ago I posted about death-defying heritage as it pertains to abbey ruins, using the superbly conserved…

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