Digital History>eXplorations>The Puritans>Gravestones as History

Activity 1: Gravestones

Gravestones and tombstone inscriptions provide valuable clues to fundamental shifts in beliefs.

Many of humanity's earliest surviving artifacts are monuments to death. At least 500,000 years ago, human beings had already developed burial rituals. Many of the world's greatest monuments, including the pyramids in Egypt or the gigantic earthen mounds erected by Native Americans, are tombs for the dead.

Resources:

Farber Gravestone Collection
http://www.davidrumsey.com/farber/

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The Collection contains over 13,500 images documenting the sculpture on more than 9,000 gravestones, most of which were made prior to 1800, in the Northeastern part of the United States.


Exploration 1: Gravestone Symbols

Identify the significance of the following gravestone symbols:

  • Angel or Cherub
  • Death's Head
  • Dove
  • Lamb
  • Medusa
  • Rose
  • Urn
  • Willow

EXploration 2: Changes in Values and Beliefs

Use gravestone symbols and inscriptions to trace changes in values and beliefs.

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Gravestone 8

     

 

 

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