I'm a PhD student researching the role of mortuary archaeology in contemporary British society. Think of this as a scrapbook of all the interesting links, snippets of information and random bits and bobs I come across pertaining to death, dying and the dead. Enjoy?!



Imagine the horror of lying on your death bed knowing you’d never made a bucket list
What drives this list is the fear of dying with regrets for what you haven’t yet done
I’m a firm believer in lists. Lists importantly titled “Things To Do (Urgent)”. Lists compiled in December of all the new people you met in the previous 12 months. Lists of unpleasant tasks to be undergone, cunningly salted with easily-crossed-off mini-tasks (“Ring emergency rising-damp people. Weigh self. Ring school to complain about child’s detention. Make ham sandwich…”) But there’s one list I can’t bring myself to make: the bucket list, of things you’d like to acquire or achieve before you die.
According to new research by a tour-specialist company, 40 per cent of 39-year-olds now draw up bucket lists. Among those surveyed, a few simply want to make their first million before they die – a uniquely pointless ambition, under the circumstances. Some (one in five, apparently) want to own a Porsche. Others long to have daredevil fun with bungee ropes or lunar expeditions. “It was great,” said the researchers, “to see the emphasis placed on experiences over material aims.”    




(Source: The Guardian)

Imagine the horror of lying on your death bed knowing you’d never made a bucket list

What drives this list is the fear of dying with regrets for what you haven’t yet done

I’m a firm believer in lists. Lists importantly titled “Things To Do (Urgent)”. Lists compiled in December of all the new people you met in the previous 12 months. Lists of unpleasant tasks to be undergone, cunningly salted with easily-crossed-off mini-tasks (“Ring emergency rising-damp people. Weigh self. Ring school to complain about child’s detention. Make ham sandwich…”) But there’s one list I can’t bring myself to make: the bucket list, of things you’d like to acquire or achieve before you die.

According to new research by a tour-specialist company, 40 per cent of 39-year-olds now draw up bucket listsAmong those surveyed, a few simply want to make their first million before they die – a uniquely pointless ambition, under the circumstances. Some (one in five, apparently) want to own a Porsche. Others long to have daredevil fun with bungee ropes or lunar expeditions. “It was great,” said the researchers, “to see the emphasis placed on experiences over material aims.”    

(Source: The Guardian)

Dead and Buried is an innovative research project that enagaged a group of young people with the opportunity to work alongside Dr Hannah Rumble, from Bath University’s Centre for Death and Society and Charlotte Chapman, a facilitator from Kumiko Community Arts, to engage in a participatory arts project exploring death and natural burial. The project ran for 7 weeks, meeting one afternoon a week, at The Park local opportunity centre in Knowle West, Bristol. The participants ranged in age from 17 to 25 and all came from very different backgrounds.
Through a series of structured workshops that provoked questioning and exploration around death and burial, the young people were encourgaed to think critically, to explore these themes and develop a “creative response”. 
The result was a very successfull week long exhibition at Centrespace Gallery in Bristol in April 2013.

(Source: Vimeo)


What do people die of? Mortality rates and data for every cause of death in 2011 visualised
It may happen to all of us eventually, but fewer of us are dying right now than at any time since mortality data was collected. In a dramatic reportthe latest figures also show that more people are dying of cancer than of circulatory diseases, for the first time since the data was recorded.

What do people die of? Mortality rates and data for every cause of death in 2011 visualised

It may happen to all of us eventually, but fewer of us are dying right now than at any time since mortality data was collected. In a dramatic reportthe latest figures also show that more people are dying of cancer than of circulatory diseases, for the first time since the data was recorded.


Funeral museums liven up the death industry
In a recent blog post, I called Philadelphia the most haunted city in the USA, due to the high number of number of commercial haunted houses that spring to life this time of year.
Reader Ann Marcum notes that the Buckeye state has its own deathly fascinations. It’s home to no fewer than four funeral-related museums.
The granddaddy of the genre, however, is in Texas, where the National Museum of Funeral History in Houston (its motto: “Any day above ground is a good one”) presents 12 exhibits, from the History of Embalming to Presidential Funerals.
If you’re looking for a skull-shaped shift knob ($11), the museum’s store is where you’ll find it. The museum is also events venue for car shows, sporting events and a seasonal haunted house (through Nov. 6).
Ohio’s nod to the funerary realm are less ambitious, perhaps, but in the spirit of the season, here’s a rundown.
The Peoples Mortuary Museum in Marietta is connected to a working mortuary and showcases memorabilia from the early 1900s, along with 1920s- to 1940s-era hearses.
Tucked in the basement of the Sturgis House Bed & Breakfast, a funeral parlor turned lodging in East Liverpool, is an “informal” funeral museum. Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd, Public Enemy No. 1 in 1934, was embalmed here before being shipped off to Oklahoma. His death mask hangs above the washing machine.
"The B&B doesn’t really advertise this, but will take guests/visitors through upon request," Marcum writes.
Famous Endings Museum in Dover, showcases one man’s collection of more than 1,500 celebrity-death-related items. Listen to audio recordings from funerals of the famous and check out celebrity grave markers.
And finally, the William Lafferty Memorial Funeral and Carriage Collection, as its name suggests, sports a large collection of antique hearses, both motorized and horse-drawn, that date to 1848.

Funeral museums liven up the death industry

In a recent blog post, I called Philadelphia the most haunted city in the USA, due to the high number of number of commercial haunted houses that spring to life this time of year.

Reader Ann Marcum notes that the Buckeye state has its own deathly fascinations. It’s home to no fewer than four funeral-related museums.

The granddaddy of the genre, however, is in Texas, where the National Museum of Funeral History in Houston (its motto: “Any day above ground is a good one”) presents 12 exhibits, from the History of Embalming to Presidential Funerals.

If you’re looking for a skull-shaped shift knob ($11), the museum’s store is where you’ll find it. The museum is also events venue for car shows, sporting events and a seasonal haunted house (through Nov. 6).

Ohio’s nod to the funerary realm are less ambitious, perhaps, but in the spirit of the season, here’s a rundown.

The Peoples Mortuary Museum in Marietta is connected to a working mortuary and showcases memorabilia from the early 1900s, along with 1920s- to 1940s-era hearses.

Tucked in the basement of the Sturgis House Bed & Breakfast, a funeral parlor turned lodging in East Liverpool, is an “informal” funeral museum. Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd, Public Enemy No. 1 in 1934, was embalmed here before being shipped off to Oklahoma. His death mask hangs above the washing machine.

"The B&B doesn’t really advertise this, but will take guests/visitors through upon request," Marcum writes.

Famous Endings Museum in Dover, showcases one man’s collection of more than 1,500 celebrity-death-related items. Listen to audio recordings from funerals of the famous and check out celebrity grave markers.

And finally, the William Lafferty Memorial Funeral and Carriage Collection, as its name suggests, sports a large collection of antique hearses, both motorized and horse-drawn, that date to 1848.

So I went to a funeral home open day at the weekend…I know how to have a good time! If you’re not au fait with ‘Only Fools and Horses’, you can read more about the yellow hearse here!


How the Dead Move Among Us
When people die, their bodies are sometimes flown elsewhere for burial. It’s one of those pathways happening daily that we just don’t think about, but, as this map created by PBS’s America Revealed and 422 South shows, it looks something like this.
The map was created using U.S. air traffic data, the show’s executive producer Tony Tackaberry told The Atlantic Wire. It is one of many maps created by America Revealed, which aired in the U.S. in the spring. In the map, you can see the traveling of bodies from the retirees in Florida back to various home towns. ”Although we have a strong notion of what travels by air through our skies we seldom think about the transport of other items such as prisoners or cadavers,” Tackaberry said. “This graphic is designed to reveal the hidden nature of these flights amongst the many passenger flights across the USA.”
America Revealed is still streaming in full on PBS.org. 

Fascinating!

How the Dead Move Among Us

When people die, their bodies are sometimes flown elsewhere for burial. It’s one of those pathways happening daily that we just don’t think about, but, as this map created by PBS’s America Revealed and 422 South shows, it looks something like this.

The map was created using U.S. air traffic data, the show’s executive producer Tony Tackaberry told The Atlantic Wire. It is one of many maps created by America Revealed, which aired in the U.S. in the spring. In the map, you can see the traveling of bodies from the retirees in Florida back to various home towns. ”Although we have a strong notion of what travels by air through our skies we seldom think about the transport of other items such as prisoners or cadavers,” Tackaberry said. “This graphic is designed to reveal the hidden nature of these flights amongst the many passenger flights across the USA.”

America Revealed is still streaming in full on PBS.org

Fascinating!