Die Sepulkralkultur im Wandel der Geschichte
Date du début: 1 juin 2015,
Date de fin: 31 mai 2017
Sepulchral culture in the course of history
Sepulchral culture is a course component at our Vocational College for Stonemasons and Stone Sculptors who are undergoing a vocational training programme to become master craftsmen and -women. It is also an integral vocational focus for the participant vocational trainers from small and medium-sized enterprises. The term ‘sepulchral culture’, derived from the Latin ‘sepulcrum’, meaning ‘grave’, deals with all cultural aspects related to dying, death and burial. Sepulchral culture reflects a region’s particular culture and religious mindset as well as its relationship to history, its social attitudes and the artistic/artisanal output of a certain era.
We have come to realise that it is rare nowadays to still find funerary monuments in our cemeteries displaying high-quality craftsmanship and of artistic value. Our craftsmen from the fields of stonemasonry and stone sculpture seldom sell self-designed funerary monuments made according to individual requirements any more, but instead act as dealers who frequently sell on finished products.
Given this context, we would like this project to broaden the participants’ awareness of existing artefacts and their meaning. Examining the perspectives of the participants, coming from different disciplines as they do, and the scientific explanations of the local partner institutions, will consequently result in the creation of new knowledge that brings about both a personal and professional development for the participants.
The project’s goals are:
Firstly, professional development of the vocational training personnel by way of expanding their background knowledge in the field of sepulchral culture. Combined with this is increased quality in educational content and safeguarding apprenticeships and positions of employment.
Secondly, synergies will stem from the interdisciplinary co-operation between participants from the technical and university domain.
And thirdly, the project strives to raise the vocational trainers’ awareness of a societal shift in values in sepulchral culture, which in turn will bring an influence to bear on consultations with the bereaved, turning to us as service providers.
The project will be in four flows spanning a period of 24 months. 10 to 25 persons per flow are earmarked as participants, namely, those involved in the process of vocational training planning, workforce development and the field of professional orientation. Among them, there are always experts and specialists with key qualifications from the educational, technical and university fields. Such an interdisciplinary formation ensures the networking of craftsmanship and the specific and constantly up-to-date expertise of university and research institutions.
Two concrete activities planned during the project’s implementation phase are the observation and study of Roman and Greek tombs and monuments in terms of their use of form. The traditions shaped by the Romans played a defining role in all subsequent eras in the European cultural landscape. Hence they give rise to a richness in form and design , without which modern burial customs and rites can no longer be properly understood.
Within the scope of our project “Sepulchral Culture in the Course of History“, we will carry out fundamental research into graves and tombs dating back to the ancient world. We shall visit ancient tombs and subject them to critical analysis. Forms, symbols, epitaphs and ornaments provide us with an insight into the ancient Greek and Roman notions about life after death. The results are both extremely surprising and interesting, and many new perspectives unfold.
A transfer of the knowledge gleaned from the project should then enable future generations of stonemasons and stone sculptors to fall back on a greater variety of forms so as to be able to incorporate new ideas into their professional work.
It is hoped that, as a result of the project, experts from the fields of education, applied art and craft and the funeral industry obtain the opportunity to refer back to the backgrounds to their activities. By dint of joint interdisciplinary research and examination of the ancient tombs found locally, from the various theoretical and practical perspectives of the participants, supported by the Italian partner institutions, a broader awareness of sepulchral culture has developed. A project such as this will establish the fact that how we deal with death and burial has not remained the same in the course of centuries, but in fact is subject to a process of dynamic development.
Our expectation is that the increased quality in educational content and the qualitative re-creation of monuments made according to individual requirements will bring about a long-term benefit for businesses active in this sector.
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