Cemetery Visit Guidelines
Visual symbolism on gravestones has been present throughout history and continues to be a vital part of mourning in our current time. Cemeteries and grave markers provide a window into the shifts in cultural and social values that occur over the course of time.
For this assignment, please consider the following on visits to the cemetery.
Provide some history on the cemetery that you are visiting. What year was the cemetery opened? Is the cemetery specific to one ethnicity, religion, etc.? Is the cemetery a "garden cemetery?" Is the cemetery still operational? Provide description and/or photographs/drawings of the cemetery.
Provide photographs or drawings of cemetery symbolism (provide at least 10) and explain the meaning of the symbolism. Please provide the date of the symbol on the grave marker. Examples: types of flora, animals, religious symbolism, mortality symbols, life stories.
If you like, you may focus on one particular theme within the cemetery, i.e.,
angelology, mortality symbols, resurrection, and afterlife. If you do, provide at least 10 examples (description, photography, or drawing) of this theme and explain the significance of each. Again, provide the date of each example.
Some questions to consider as you explore gravestones: Does the marker reflect an attitude toward death? What information does the tombstone give us about the deceased? What are indicators, if any, of the cultural influence? Is there a columbarium (place for cremated remains)? Are there architectural themes of monuments that change over time? Do the stones, monuments, and markers provide insight into the beliefs and values of the time in history?
If there are significant burials in the cemetery or historical architecture, provide information and/or photography.
What did you learn about the significance of cemeteries during your visit?