Digital History>Topics>Cemeteries

Overview of Learning History Through Graveyards

Digital History TOPIC ID 40

Graveyards provide a great deal of useful information about peoples' lives in the past and the evolution of cultural ideas about death. Why did early Americans call places for the dead "burying grounds" or "graveyards”—not “cemeteries”? Why did they treat graveyards as meadows, not as sacred or spooky places? How common was death in early America and who was most likely to die prematurely? How and why has the iconography of tombstones change over time?

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