29 January 2023

Death, slate and demography

I had seen a talk advertised with a rather intriguing title: "Examining death and demography within the industrial slate communities of North-West Wales". It was organised by the Gwynedd archaeological trust. I like what they do! Later that week, I would also see Miles. Then he requested to move that meeting a day early. That was fine with me! But that brought the two things together. Luckily, this talk was something to do with slate, and that is something you can get him enthusiastic about. I wasn't quite sure what to make of the death and the demography, but I was sure we would find out. We decided to go together!

He came over to my place in the first had dinner. And then we went. I was curious to see what this was all about!

The speaker started. She explained in detail how she had done her research so far, and also mentioned how she was going to do more of it in the future. What it was she was doing, she didn't say.

Speaker being introduced

It became clear that she was basically documenting gravestones in cemeteries associated with various slate quarries, and cross referencing that information as far as possible with records from census data. And it was an interesting idea! I'm sure you can find out all sorts of things if you systematically go through graveyards. But after half an hour I still didn't know what she was looking for. After 45 minutes I still didn't. After 52 minutes she finally explains she was going to try to find out if there were significant differences between graveyards associated with respectively Penrhyn and Dinorwic Quarry. What sort of differences she might expect she didn't say. It still sounded interesting! But she could have presented this in a slightly more interesting way.

Miles and I went back again. Time for more tea! And then he went home. It was really good to see him, and I like the idea of linking graveyard data to census data, but I hope he didn't mind too much I'd lugged him to a talk that basically was a 52-minute introduction to a10-second badly explained research question!

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