Buried in the Rubble


  • Irene Davies




Aberfan, child death, coalmining, community, disaster, grief


In 1966 an unprecedented disaster struck the small coalmining village of Aberfan in South Wales. 144 lives were lost as thousands of tons of mining rubble hurtled down the mountainside into a local school; not only families, but the community was devastated as the village lost a generation, with 116 children perishing in the rubble. This paper explores the emotional, psychological and physiological affects experienced by the community in the aftermath of such a disaster, and the spiritual coping mechanisms individuals often employ in order to deal with their grief. This case study of Aberfan explores the wider connotations of disaster perception; what causes a disaster? Is it an act of God, an act of nature, or an act of man? A disaster certainly cannot be experienced neutrally, and this article with emphasize the progressive development of attitude, post-trauma, which allows society to construe a disaster as all three of these ‘acts’.


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Author Biography

Irene Davies

Irene Davies is a priest, counsellor, and a retired nurse and teacher, who was born and raised in the Welsh valleys. She gained a BA in Theology and Religious Studies from the University of Winchester in 2005 and is currently writing a book on Aberfan – its history and legacy


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How to Cite

Davies, I. (2013). God: Buried in the Rubble. Fieldwork in Religion, 8(2), 199–208. https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.v8i2.199