Dying in the Past

Dying in the Past

As an archaeologist, I study the mortuary practices (i.e. the ways in people reacted to death and treated their dead) in the past. My specialism is in the prehistory of the Middle East, particularly the Neolithic period, when our ancestors were beginning to settle into the earliest towns, domesticate animals, and turn to a more agricultural lifestyle.

Recently, I have been thinking about the contribution that archaeological research into mortuary practices can make to contemporary attitudes towards death and dying. In particular, I want to look at how case studies from the past might help people to talk more easily about death today, something which Palliative Research, the World Health Organisation, and Health Care researchers and practitioners have recognised as important in helping to fight our death taboos (see the Dying Matters webpage for more on the National incentive to get us talking).

With this in mind, I presented my research at the Palliative Care Congress (March 2014; Croucher_Archaeology_Death&DyingArchaeology meets Palliative Care) and spoke at a LOROS Hospice Event in May 2015.

Archaeology Meets End-of-Life Care

Following on from the above evnts, I have received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council for an innovative collaborative project between archaeologists and health and social care practitioners. See the Continuing Bonds page for more information.

 

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