Workshop on Mortuary Rituals (Oct 27-28, Helsinki)

On October 27-28, 2016, there will be a workshop on mortuary rituals taking place at the University of Helsinki. The workshop is organised by the Centre of Excellence in Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions  and the Nordic project on Ritual and the Emergence of Early Christian Religion: A Socio-Cognitive AnalysisThe venues are at the Faculty of Theology, Fabianinkatu 24, 5th floor. Please find the preliminary program below. For further information, please contact: Anne Katrine de Hemmer Gudme ( or Kirsi Valkama (



Thursday October 27 [Lecture Hall F24 S531]

11.00–11.15: Welcome

Session 1: Mortuary Rituals in Contemporary Society

11.15–11.50: Ritual subjunctive in Karelian mortuary ritual, Dr. Terhi Utriainen, University of Helsinki

11.50–12.25: Modern rituals around death, MA Maija Butters, University of Helsinki

12.25–14.00: Lunch

Session 2: Mortuary Rituals in Ancient Israel and Judah
14.00–15.00: Garden and tomb rituals in Isaiah 1:29–30, 65:3–5, and 66:17, Prof. Diana Edelman, University of Oslo

15.00–15.35: Judean Graves and Ideology, Dr. Raz Kletter, University of Helsinki

15.35–16.05: Coffee and tea break

16.05–16.40: Blessings and Curses in Iron Age Judean Tombs,  Dr. Kirsi Valkama, University of Helsinki

16.40–17.40: Visiting the Dead: Traces of Mortuary Ritual Practices in the Roman Near East, Prof. Anne Katrine Gudme, University of Helsinki/University of Copenhagen

17.40-18.00: Short break

18.00–20.00: Reception [Faculty Hall]


Friday October 28 [Lecture Hall F24 S531]

Session 3: Mortuary Rituals in Pre-Historic Europe

09.30–10.30: The Visuality of Death: Approaching Mortuary rituals using Visual Social Semiotics and Cognitive Science, Dr. Fredrik Ekengren, University of Lund

10.30–11.00: Coffee and tea break

11.00–11.35: Tracing Mortuary Practices from the Finnish Stone Age Graves, MA Marja Ahola, University of Helsinki

11.35–12.10: Transforming and commemorating the dead through Cremation, Dr. Anna Wessman, University of Helsinki

12.10–13.40: Lunch

Session 4: Mortuary Rituals in the Ancient Mediterranean
13.40–14.15: The Cult of the Royal Dead at Ugarit: Poetics, Politics, and Praxis, Dr. Joanna Töyräänvuori, Helsinki

14.15–14.50: The evidence for Phoenician ‘symbolic mummification’, Dr. Helen Dixon, University of Helsinki

14.50–15.30: Concluding discussion


15.30–18.30: 3-hour break

18.30: Dinner for conference presenters