Tangible remains play an important role in our relationships with the dead; they are pivotal to how we remember, mourn and grieve. The chapters in this volume analyse a diverse range of objects and their role in the processes of grief and mourning, with contributions by scholars in anthropology, history, fashion, thanatology, religious studies, archaeology, classics, sociology, and political science. The book brings together consideration of emotions, memory and material agency to inform a deeper understanding of the specific roles played by objects in funerary contexts across historical and contemporary societies.

chapter 1|20 pages


Emotions and materiality in theory and method
ByRuth E. Toulson, Zahra Newby

part 1|54 pages

The afterlife of possessions

chapter 2|17 pages

Dead people’s clothes

Materialising mourning and memory in ancient Rome
ByValerie M. Hope

chapter 3|21 pages

Remembering Roland Leighton

Uniforms as the materials of memory and mourning in World War I
ByEmily Brayshaw

chapter 4|14 pages

Destroying objects, keeping memories

ByEric Venbrux

part 2|97 pages

Representational objects

chapter 5|26 pages

The Grottarossa doll and her mistress

Hope and consolation in a Roman tomb
ByZahra Newby

chapter 6|18 pages

Talking with a cold grey stone

The life and death of gravestones in contemporary Denmark
ByAnne Kjærsgaard

chapter 7|27 pages

The face of the deceased

Portrait busts in Roman tombs
ByHelen I. Ackers

chapter 8|24 pages

Enduring grief

Images of the mourning woman from the ancient classical world to eighteenth-century Britain
ByKate A. Beats

part 3|70 pages

The body as material for mourning

chapter 9|16 pages

The ‘worth’ of grief and the ‘value’ of bodies

Managing the civilian corpse in Second World War Britain
ByLucy Noakes

chapter 10|14 pages

Fragments of bone and chips of stone

Materiality and mourning in a Chinese society
ByRuth E. Toulson

chapter 11|17 pages

Sacred rituals of the security state

Reclaiming bodies and making relics from Ground Zero
ByCharlotte Heath-Kelly

chapter 12|21 pages

Why materiality in mourning matters

ByMichael Brennan

part |17 pages


chapter 13|15 pages

The death turn

Interdisciplinarity, mourning and material culture
ByDouglas J. Davies