University of Oulu

Äikäs, T., Ikäheimo, J., & Leinonen, R. (2021). How to Mound a Horse? Remembrance and Thoughts of Afterlife at Finnish Companion Animal Cemetery, Society & Animals, 1–20.

How to mound a horse? : remembrance and thoughts of afterlife at Finnish companion animal cemetery

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Author: Äikäs, Tiina1; Ikäheimo, Janne1; Leinonen, Riitta-Marja2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Finland
2Parks and Wildlife Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Brill, 2021
Publish Date: 2023-01-30


This article presents the results of a combined archaeological and cultural anthropological study of 170 horse burials at a pet (companion animal) cemetery in Mikonkangas, Oulu, Finland. The applied methods include archaeological documentation, interviews with the horse caretakers, and visits to the site. Contrary to socially and legislatively controlled human burial grounds with organized maintenance, companion animal cemeteries with their inherent do-it-yourself character are often displays for more spontaneous expressions of grief and longing. The evidence of remembrance varies from nearly unmarked graves to elaborate memorials with headstones, epitaphs, flowers, and personal objects. The thought of a reunion in the afterlife is evident in some of the epitaphs and could also have influenced the use of crosses and angel symbols on some of the graves.

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Series: Society & animals
ISSN: 1063-1119
ISSN-E: 1568-5306
ISSN-L: 1063-1119
Volume: 6
Issue: 3
Pages: 1 - 20
DOI: 10.1163-15685306-bja10044
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
616 Other humanities
Copyright information: © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2021.