Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Graveyard Travels

Ye Olde Burial Ground
I like visiting cemeteries, not only to wonder about the mystery of death and where we might go after our bodies die, but also to appreciate history. This cemetery dates back to the American colonial days of the 17th and 18th century. I've studied enough history to know that I'm glad I didn't live back then! I really appreciate modern conveniences like public utilities, indoor plumbing, central heating, etc. Not to mention modern transportation.

However, there were some pretty cool things going on back then and it's interesting to learn how people thought and what they believed and see how our culture has changed over the centuries. Most of the words are worn from these stones, unfortunately, but many of them are still legible. Rubbings are not allowed in this graveyard because the stones are so fragile; visitors are discouraged from touching them. I was intrigued by those two memorials in the photo that are shaped like tables. they look kind of awkward and crowded, even out of place.

After a small amount of research I learned that they are simply elaborate gravestones that resemble altars. Elaborate mostly because of the financial expense as well as standing out from the rest. The people buried under them must have had lots of money! Probably very high ranking in the community too. I've read in several sources that later in the 19th century, cemeteries were built in park-like settings where people would go for walks and bring picnic lunches to visit graves and enjoy the scenery. In fact, both my mother's ancestors and my father's ancestors are buried in cemeteries that fit that description. 

I don't know if that was the case in the earlier centuries when these altar-like monuments were erected, but it seems as though the markers would have come in handy for the picnics!

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