Burying the Dead written by Lorraine Evans and published by Pen and Sword Books – £19.99 – Hardback – Pages 198.
Deep in the heart of North Yorkshire, at place called Walkington Wolk, there lies a rather unusual burial ground, and Anglo-Saxon execution cemetery. Twelve skeletons were unearthed by archaeologists, ten without skulls. Later examination of revealed that their owners were all subjected to judicial execution by decapitation, one of which required several blows. Burying the Dead explores how attitudes, practices and beliefs about death have undergone continual change. By studying changes of society’s funeral spaces looks at the relationship between the dead and the living.
This book looks very much at the burial sites rather than the traditions of dying and funerals, which is often more the way. But this was actually despite the subject matter a very good and interesting book looking at the differing types of burial sites from around the world. Often looking at not just single site burials but the sites of mass burials and massacres. The book looks at burial sites right from the early years of recognised cemetery’s back to the Pagan ways through to different types of burial and then strange ones in what is titled ‘Thinking outside the box.’ The book has a good appendix near the back of the book that looks at cemetery symbols and burial acts. If death and burials is your thing I would suggest this book very highly as it’s very well written and researched with the information and writing flowing very easily. A morbid book to finish the year off with but certainly a very good read.