A Short History of Reburial

in Digging Up the Dead

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780226423296
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226423326 | DOI:
A Short History of Reburial

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Reburial has been associated with possession and memorialization. It involved matters of reputation, memory, pride of ownership, sentiments concerning the most suitable venue, the commercial development of privately owned cemeteries, and eventually even tourism. During the nineteenth century, a new, secularized cult of tombs, cemeteries, and the dead emerged in France. Death underwent democratization: all citizens, regardless of social rank or wealth, should be buried modestly. The practice of exhumation and reinterment has had a long, complex, and intriguing history elsewhere in the world. Changing attitudes about death, urban health, and especially the democratization of interment, did not immediately reach or affect the United States, where the history of death has been examined from multiple perspectives. Mortuary rituals and the history of cemeteries, along with monuments, memorials, and gravestones, have attracted the interest of anthropologists and historians.

Keywords: United States; reinterment; death; cemeteries; France; tombs; memorialization; gravestones

Chapter.  10440 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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