Ritual, Belief and the Dead in Early Modern Britain and Ireland

Ritual, Belief and the Dead in Early Modern Britain and Ireland

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Drawing on archaeological, historical, theological, scientific and folkloric sources, Sarah Tarlow's interdisciplinary study examines belief as it relates to the dead body in early modern Britain and Ireland. From the theological discussion of bodily resurrection to the folkloric use of body parts as remedies, and from the judicial punishment of the corpse to the ceremonial interment of the social elite, this book discusses how seemingly incompatible beliefs about the dead body existed in parallel through this tumultuous period. This study, which is the first to incorporate archaeological evidence of early modern death and burial from across Britain and Ireland, addresses new questions about the materiality of death: what the dead body means, and how its physical substance could be attributed with sentience and even agency. It provides a sophisticated original interpretive framework for the growing quantities of archaeological and historical evidence about mortuary beliefs and practices in early modernity.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text | 238 pages
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 36 b/w illus. 1 table
  • 1139210637
  • 9781139210638

Table of contents

1. Introduction; 2. Religious belief; 3. Scientific belief; 4. Social belief; 5. Folk belief; 6. Conclusions.show more

Review quote

'Of interest to a wide range of readers, [this] book is essential for archaeologists concerned with post-medieval burials, and important in helping to inform current debates about display and research on human remains.' Barney Sloane, British Archaeology 'This is an accessible and stimulating book, offering by its scope and breadth a penetrative insight into early modern attitudes to the body, whether recently-deceased or long dead ... This book should be required reading for archaeology students and others interested in how past societies have dealt with the consequences of that last great leap in the dark.' Alison Smithson, The Archaeological Journalshow more

About Sarah Tarlow

Sarah Tarlow is Senior Lecturer in Historical Archaeology at the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester. She is the author of Bereavement and Commemoration: An Archaeology of Mortality (1999) and The Archaeology of Improvement (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and co-editor of The Familiar Past? Archaeologies of Later Historical Britain (1999) and Thinking through the Body (2002). She has published widely on archaeological theory, later historical archaeology, and the interdisciplinary study of death.show more

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