After a long period of relative stability, the contexts in which disposal of the dead takes place in the UK have been subject to change. Since the late 1980s, the cultures of burial and cremation have altered, and it is clear that the period of change is still under way. This paper considers contexts for the ‘modern’ culture of burial in the UK, and reflects on a number of policy developments that have both facilitated and responded to that change in culture. In particular, the paper highlights the ways in which the needs of bereaved people with respect to commemoration are currently being privileged; the growing professionalisation and feminisation of cemetery and crematorium management; environmental concerns relating to cremation; and the resurgence of private sector interest in burial provision. The imminent introduction of the reuse of graves – a measure hitherto illegal in the UK, without special license – looks set both to test and augment this revival of interest in burial.