Sarah Hoile (UCL) - 2015-16 Students

Death, Time and Commerce: innovation and conservatism in styles of funerary material culture in 18th-19th century London

How and why did the material culture of death change in the era of a consumer society? Coffin furniture (metal fittings such as breastplates and handles) became an intrinsic part of the typical Victorian funeral and in recent decades commercial archaeological excavations and vault clearances have revealed large quantities of material from the 18th and 19th centuries. Focusing on material from London, my project examines the dynamics of change in funerary and non-funerary contexts of consumption, investigating how and why coffin furniture styles developed in this period, comparing below- and above-ground funerary material culture and exploring the ways in which these were used to construct concepts of time, tradition and change.

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