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Rituals of Death (Hardback)

From Prehistoric Times to Now

P&S History Social History

By Dr Stan Beckensall
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 176
Illustrations: 32 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399098373
Published: 30th August 2022

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RRP £20.00

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We all must die, and how society deals with the disposal is fascinating in the way it reflects the beliefs of the people of the time and ways in which they honour or do not honour the dead. Having excavated prehistoric burials, the author weighs carefully the evidence of what people might have thought of the dead through the way they buried them and what was put into the graves. These excavations were done mainly with the help of young people, and the way that this has been organised in order to get the maximum information has been an essential part of the task. The author provides much detail of this that makes it more interesting and personal.

Burial customs change, so the book includes a section on events such as the Black Death and cholera to show how such catastrophes change people's minds and customs.

The present problem of burial has been highlighted as it was then by the horror of an invisible disease, the effects of which we have to cope with. In the past the causes of the disease, when discovered, led to Public health inquiries into the causes, and to improvements in some burial grounds. The traditional burial in “God's little Acre' around a church provides with much information about people through their headstones and other monuments – something accessible to all who visit our churches today, and examples from Northumberland give a typical range of what we find there.

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About Dr Stan Beckensall

Dr Stan Beckensall, BA (Hons.)Dip,Ed, FSA Scot, Hon. D.Litt , MBE


Stan has published over 40 books, mainly on History, but also poetry, drama, place and field names and local history.


Archaeology began as an interesting hobby for him, and he became prominent internationally in it, particularly in researching Prehistoric rock art, for which he has won many awards. He has given many talks and broadcasts, and raised money through them for local charities. He founded the Mid -Sussex Archaeological Society and is President of the North of the Wall Tynedale Association.


He lives in Hexham, and his working life has been spent in teaching at many levels.

Perfect Partner

A History of Death in 17th Century England (Paperback)

Death was a constant presence in the lives of the rich and poor alike in seventeenth-century England, being much more visible in everyday existence than it is today. It is a highly important and surprisingly captivating part of the epic story of England during the turbulent years of the 1600s. This book guides readers through the subject using a chronological approach, as would have been experienced by those living in the country at the time, beginning with the myriad causes of death, including disease, war, and capital punishment, and finishing with an exploration of posthumous commemoration.…

By Ben Norman

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