My 8th article of this calendar year has been published in the just-out 1st edition of The Routledge Handbook of Memory and Place edited by Sarah de Nardi, Hilary Orange, Steven High and Eerika Koskinen-Koivisto. This co-authored chapter with Elizabeth Williams evaluates the contrasting and evolving strategies adopted to incorporate the cremated dead into Welsh and English churchyards, taking an archaeological perspective on materiality and space. We look at the various ways churchyards associate cremation memorials with walls, pathways, extensions and the original (often medieval) sacred architecture.

This chapter is the result of over 14 years of intermittent fieldwork and discussion. An early version was presented at a conference organised by Professor Tony Walter of the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath way back in 2010 but other research, teaching, administrative and personal commitments have prevented me from taking this study forward to publication earlier than now. I’m very grateful to the editors of the Handbook for providing an appropriate venue for its piece and for their steadfast and constructive support during the writing and editing processes.

The chapter relates to an ongoing strand of my research on the contemporary archaeology of death, of which this Archaeodeath blog is a part. Other recent publications on this theme include a piece on zoos as deathscapes resulting from a collaboration with Professor Cornelius Holtorf (and best-read in conjunction with his chapter in the same volume) and a chapter with Dr Anna Wessman on cremation in European urban cemeteries in the book Cremation and the Archaeology of Death (OUP, 2017). For earlier pieces on this theme, where I’ve written about donkey sanctuaries, the National Memorial Arboretum, and cremation-related memorials and spaces associated with churchyards, cemeteries and crematoria, see this review post.

I still owe a publisher a monograph on contemporary deathscapes of Wales and England when I get the time…


Williams, H. and Williams, E. 2019. Cremation and contemporary churchyards, in S. De Nardi, H. Orange, S. High, E. Koskinen-Koivisto (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Memory and Place. London: Routledge, pp. 367–383.