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Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Archaeology of American Cemeteries and Gravemarkers

This book was brought to my attention through my B.U. Genealogical Forum for alumna of the research program. Though published in August of last year, (University of Florida Press) it is about the archaeology of cemeteries, and is worth bringing to your attention now.  This is not a guidebook for the cemetery-roving genealogist, however.
 It is about, to my best understanding,  the history of burial traditions and practices,  and an exploration of the human need for remembrance, in America.  From information in the introduction (full disclosure: I have not yet read the book so relied upon Amazon's content and the BU Forum for enlightenment), it addresses the sacred and profane in burial practices. 
 An example:  the practice of White settlers, to bury, with not regard, their own dead on top and within sacred Indian burial grounds, and the many years that passed before these sacred burial grounds became nationally preserved and protected.  
 It is remarkable, I think, that with all the thousands of years of changes: wars, grappling for territories, technological advances, religious observances, class struggles, and our ever-determined, forward-slanting stride into the future - we still bury our dead.  Maybe locations and graves are new, but the need to in some degree immortalize ourselves, seems as strong as ever.

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