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Research Centre for Religious Studies Research Centres CRASIS

Mortuary Ritual Network

About the Network

The network initiative was born from the idea that researchers (students and staff) from many different disciplines at the UG and the PThU are working on the many ways in which people deal and dealt with death. We aim to bring together students and scholars working on various aspects of mortuary ritual across disciplinary boundaries, with a broad range of methodologies and data, from different perspectives and from cultures that cross space and time. Bringing these people together fosters interdisciplinary discussion and allows the exchange of ideas and the exploration of collaborations.

Meeting plans

We regularly organize informal 1.5-2h meetings to discuss the work of one of the scholars in the network or a specific theme or topic. Roughly once per semester, we plan to organize a longer meeting on a specific topic, with multiple speakers. Meetings are announced via CRASIS and our mailing list.
Meetings can take varying forms, including structured discussions on key themes surrounding death and mortuary ritual (e.g. 'the good death', self-representation and identity, personhood, bereavement, and meaning-making), the presentation of ongoing research or research ideas, as well as meetings on specific topics (e.g. inequality in death) or around specific materials (e.g. textual strategies of commemoration or Greco-Roman epitaphs). We also plan to invite scholars in the fields of post-antique history, philosophy, and religious studies, as well as to reach out to colleagues in the social sciences, specializing in such disciplines as psychology, sociology, and anthropology.

Next Meeting: 18 June: CRASIS AWS by Prof. Leonard Rutgers

The lecture will be held 18 June at the Faculty of Religion Culture and Society, Oude Boteringestraat Straat 38, in the Court Room, at 16:15 to 17:15. Afterwards, there will be free drinks for anyone interested for which no registration is required. 

‘The Third Revolution in Archaeology: aDNA in Ancient and Medieval Jewish Archaeology.’
This paper explores the ramifications of the biomolecular revolution in archaeology by talking about advances in the study of ancient DNA. After a general introduction that seeks to contextualize said revolution and that talks about new possibilities as well as associated obstacles, it presents a case study that focuses on recent work at the medieval Jewish cemetery of Erfurt. In doing so, it talks the audience through the actual findings, the methodologies used, and the results attained. In all of this, special emphasis will be paid to the question of what the study of archaeogenetics brings to the table from the perspective of archaeology and history.
About the speaker
Prof. Dr. Leonard V. Rutgers is an archaeologist and historian of religion, holding the chair in Late Antiquity at Utrecht University. His research focuses on the history and archaeology of the Jewish Diaspora in Europe, the origins of early Christianity, and the history of Jewish-Christian relations. He is particularly interested in migration, diaspora studies, historical demography, cultural interactions between different populations, the integration of religious minorities, identity formation, quantification, language use, epigraphy, using archaeology as a source to study history, heritage management, archaeological ethics, and the analysis of rhetorical strategies used in dealing with "the other."  

Upcoming events

  • Esserveld, opening of S07E01: With what sauce shall we be eaten 

    On June 22 from 2:00 pm at Esserveld Cemetery (Esserweg 22a) with new work by Anna Reutinger, Isabel Cavenecia and Yair Callender. 

    Anna, Isabel and Yair held a five-week studio in the former auditorium and developed new works. Inspired by the symbolism of tombstones, rights for people who cannot afford a funeral, the cemetery caretaker and old Dutch mourning customs. Expect textile sculptures and costumes, glass reliefs and ceramic masks, among others, in the usually closed auditorium of the Amsterdam School entrance building. More information:


  • Dr Tamara M. Dijkstra (t.m.dijkstra

  • Caroline van Toor MA (c.j.toor

  • Paula Kalkman MA (p.g.kalkman

  • Janis Oomen MA (

If you have questions, propose a meeting, or if you want to be placed on our mailing list, please send an email to Caroline van Toor (c.j.toor

Past events

  • Bart Danon, 'Burial Plotting Wealth in Roman Italy?', 13 June 2024
  • Brenda Mathijssen, 22 November 2023, 1-2.30 p.m.
  • Bilal Annan & Nicholas Aherne, 13 December 2023, 1-3 p.m.
  • Hannah Malone, 8 March, 1-2:30 p.m.: Fascist Italy and the mortuary rituals for fallen soldiers of the First World War
  • Gavin Blasdel, 27 March, 1-2:30 p.m.

Last modified:18 June 2024 1.57 p.m.