Session 9 – Cemeteries

Last week we looked at cemeteries and how they fit into the idea of Urban Archaeology. We discussed the ways that cemeteries and graveyards had developed over time, beginning with burial grounds and ending with today’s municipal cemeteries. We used the example of St. Winifred’s Church in Branscombe to talk about how the development of a community and a church can be traced through time by looking at the locations of graves in a graveyard.

Gareth gave examples of different types of headstones that you might find in a graveyard or cemetery, and we talked about how different time periods can be identified from key features found on headstones and memorials.

We used printouts from the Council of Scottish Archaeology’s handbook for recording graveyards, and also worked through their recording and condition survey sheets for headstones. This handbook really is worth printing and taking with you if you plan to visit and record a graveyard or cemetery. It is free and available online (see the Powerpoint below for more information).

As an exercise, we all had a go at identifying periods of a selection of graves that we had removed the dates from.

This is the presentation that we gave: