Can and should archaeologists study death in today’s world? My answer has long been ‘yes’, and archaeologists provide distinctive theoretical and methodological toolkits for tackling global themes and local variabilities in the mortuary archaeology of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Two recent YouTube videos introduce this approach.

Archaeologists on Contemporary Death: The Mortality Special Issue.

The first video introduces the special issue of the interdisciplinary journal ‘Mortality’ (vol. 16/2) which I guest-edited. Archaeologists are increasingly investigating death, burial and commemoration in the 20th and 21st centuries as well as in earlier time periods, and my introduction to the special issue identifies why and how.

Cremation and Present Pasts: A Contemporary Archaeology of Swedish Memory Groves

How and why do we create gardens of remembrance for the disposal and commemoration of the cremated dead? The second video introduces the research article ‘Cremation and present pasts: A contemporary archaeology of Swedish memory groves’ which was published in the special issue.

Here’s the link to the ‘Mortality’ special issue, published in 2011.

Download and read Howard’s introduction to the ‘Mortality’ special issue here.

Download and read my research article ‘Cremation and present pasts’ here. 


For an earlier Archaeodeath review of my research on contemporary deathways, follow this link.