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Endo-cannibalism in the making of a recent British ancestor

Harvey, Graham (2004). Endo-cannibalism in the making of a recent British ancestor. Mortality, 9(3) pp. 255–267.

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Following his death in 1975, the ashes of Wally Hope, founder of Stonehenge People's Free Festival, were scattered in the centre of Stonehenge. When a child tasted the ashes the rest of the group followed this lead. In the following decades, as the festival increasingly became the site of contest about British heritage and culture, the story of Wally's ashes was told at significant times. His name continues to be invoked at gatherings today. This paper discusses these events as 'the making of an ancestor', and explores wider contexts in which they might be understood. These include Druidic involvement in the revival of cremation, Amazonian bone-ash endo-cannibalism, and popular means of speaking of and to dead relatives. In addition to considering the role of 'ancestors' in contemporary Britain, the paper contributes to considerations of 'ancestry' as a different way of being dead, of a particular moment in the evolution of an alternative religious neo-tribal movement, of the meanings of 'cannibalism', and of the ways in which human remains might be treated by the bereaved and by various other interested parties.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2004 Taylor & Francis Ltd
ISSN: 1469-9885
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetKing Alfred’s College
Extra Information: This is an electronic version of an article published in Mortality which is available online at:
Keywords: cremation; ancestors; druids; cannibalism; Amazonia
Academic Unit/Department: Arts > Religious Studies
Item ID: 9636
Depositing User: Graham Harvey
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2007
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2012 13:45
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