Why I Read Gravestone Inscriptions….

Reading the obituaries in the newspaper is one way to study history, person-by-person. Visiting their graves is another way to honor their memory and contributions.

Three decades ago I entered a New Hampshire cemetery and began reading gravestone inscriptions, searching for information about Colonial women. This project turned into an ethno-historic study of the cultural patterning behind 2,500 18th- and 19th-century gravestones. After earning my Ph.D. in Near Eastern Archaeology and moving to Virginia, I returned to my study of historic graveyards. This time I focused on the forgotten graves of enslaved families. One of the themes of this blog will be the study of these sacred sites.

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