Text full multimedia monochrome

First time here?

Find out more about how The Lecture List works.

Do you organise talks?

Register to tell us about them. The Lecture List is a great place to be listed, but it's also an easy place to upload your information to. It's very simple and costs nothing. Find out more

Help!

Find out what you can do to keep The Lecture List online

Conserved Corpses: From Egypt to Evita

This illustrated talk will discuss the mechanisms of natural and deliberate preservation of the human body from ancient times to the present.


In keeping with its tradition, this year's Annual Dr Death Lecture at Brompton Cemetery is not for the squeamish. It begins by considering the reasons why the exceedingly perishable human body can, under certain natural conditions, be preserved almost indefinitely, such as in extremes of coldness or dryness, or where suitable chemicals or anaerobic conditions exist. It will examine specific cases where bodies from bogs, deserts and frozen wastes have turned into immortal versions of their former selves. The second half of the lecture will look at how human ingenuity has been employed over the centuries to produce the same effect for religious or political purposes. In Egypt, a culture that celebrated death on a massive scale, outrageous amounts of time were spent in preserving the bodies of certain individuals. In medieval Europe the bodies of the nobility were specially treated to give them an extended shelf life so they could survive long journeys and the elaborate funerals of the era. Recent history has seen the exhibition of conserved corpses as artistic objects and some governments, perhaps with more sinister agendas, have sought to legitimise their positions by using the ultimate in embalming techniques to turn worshipped national figures into permanent icons. Finally, the question will be asked: are all these conserved corpses just farcical parodies of once sentient and intelligent people or are they meaningful cultural artefacts that can tell us something about the human condition over the centuries and are still capable of imparting useful scientific information now and in the future?


Speaker(s):

City of London guide Robert Stephenson | talks | www

 

Date and Time:

16 August 2007 at 6:30 pm

Duration:

1 hour

 

Venue:

Brompton Cemetery Chapel
Brompton Cemetery
Fulham Road
London
SW10 9UG
020 7351 1689
http://www.brompton.org
Show map

Organised by:

Friends of Brompton Cemetery
See other talks organised by Friends of Brompton Cemetery...

 

Tickets:

£5.00

Available from:

Pay on the door

Additional Information:

The nearest Tube is West Brompton on District Line - turn right out of the station.

Register to tell a friend about this lecture.

Comments

If you would like to comment about this lecture, please register here.



 

Any ad revenue is entirely reinvested into the Lecture List's operating fund