Chapters From the Twelfth Century to the Twenty-First
For the past twenty years, Scottish death culture has emerged as a focus of scholars drawn from a wide variety of disciplines. Death comes to us all but too often we treat it as a private or personal matter. The former taboo about death is slowly lifting and contemporary research is playing an increasing part. Accordingly, the fifteen essays gathered in this book probe the multi-facetted role of death in Scottish history and culture. They explore personal fears of death, anxieties about Predestination, prayers for the dead and the appeal of Spiritualism. They analyse the public face of death in law, economics and medicine: changes in capital punishment, funeral poverty, the teaching of anatomy and prevention of stillbirths. Within the worlds of religion and ritual, they consider the making of saints, burial practice following the Scottish Reformation and the tradition of keening within the Gáidhealtachd. With an Introduction by Professor Jane Dawson, these essays by specialists in the field not only highlight the richness of the primary sources for studying death in Scotland but reveal how death studies identify key features of Scottish life and society across ten centuries.
List of Figures
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Figure 2.1. Charts derived from gravemarker data. A-bar chart: the relative frequency of letterform attributes in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, B-pie chart: the percentages of lettering styles in Buttevant, Co. Cork and Galbally, Co. Limerick, Ireland, C-frequency map: the distribution of ligatures in Dumfries and Galloway, D-spindle chart: the evolution of script letterforms in Scotland, E-hierarchical tree: classification of gravemarkers in Dumfries and Galloway. ©George Thomson. Note: Thomson, G., Dead easy statistics for gravemarker research (Waterbeck: George Thomson, 2016).
Figure 2.2. Scatter plot (ordination) from a principle component analysis of letterform attributes in Dumfries and Galloway revealing a distinct group in southern Dumfriesshire (open circles). ©George Thomson. Note: Thomson, Research in inscriptional palaeography (RIP). Tombstone lettering in Dumfries and Galloway.’
Figure 2.3. Transformations of the letter g: A-the original form, B-displacement, C-rotation, and D-scale. Note that the actual shape does not change. ©George Thomson.
Figure 2.4. Selected landmarks on the letter I for use in geometric morphometrics. ©George Thomson.
Figure 2.5. Four grave slabs from St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney. ©George Thomson.
Figure 2.6. PCA from geometric morphometric data revealing a group of nine related gravemarkers from St Magnus Cathedral, based on inscriptional lettering. Labels refer to the ← xi | xii → gravestones as numbered in the study. ©George Thomson. Note: Thomson, A morphometric study of lettering on some distinctive grave slabs in Orkney.
Figure 2.7. Four gravestones by the Ards Carvers...
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