The Urban Graveyard 
Archaeological Perspectives. Urban Graveyard Proceedings 2 

Oosten van, R.M.R., R. Schats, K. Fast, N. Arts, H.M.P. Bouwmeester 

Paperback. 354 pp. Richly illustrated. Sidestone Press 2018. 

It is commonly believed that in medieval and post-medieval towns and cities death outnumbered births and that these urban centres could only survive through the influx of migrants; a concept which has come to be known as the urban graveyard effect. Whether this was indeed the case for all cities and towns is still debated, but it is certain that urban citizens were more used to death that we are today. The medieval graveyards in which the deceased were interred, then still located within town limits, are an invaluable source of knowledge for reconstructing past lives.

Systematic archaeological and osteoarchaeological research of urban graveyards has become the norm in the Netherlands and Belgium since the 1980s. However, many of the studies remain unpublished and larger, overarching publications in which comparisons are made between different studies are still lacking.

The urban graveyard presents several studies in which the results of older archaeological and osteoarchaeological research are compared to more recent excavation data from several Dutch, Belgian and Danish cities and towns. Both the archaeological data concerning burial position, orientation, and grave goods as well as osteoarchaeological data such as demographic information and pathological observations are discussed. This well-illustrated volume is a starting point and source of inspiration for more (inter)national comparative research

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