History of Gravestones

Article keywords: Gravestones

People have been marking the graves of their loved ones for centuries in one way or another. In the days before public cemeteries, people would be buried in land close to their homes. These graves would have been marked with rocks or stones as people believed that this would stop the dead from rising. They may have also had something with the name of the deceased, their age and the year that they died.

As churchyard burials became more popular, then there was a rise in the use of gravestones as we see them today. These gravestones were usually made from slate or sandstone. When slate was used for the gravestone the inscription had to be quite shallow but it was still possible to read these inscriptions, although they would fade over time.

During the 19th Century gravestones began to be seen as more than just a way to remember the dead. The quality of the gravestone represented the social status that the person would have enjoyed when they were alive. It became common for sculptures to be added to the graves of families that could afford it. These sculptures were often of religious symbols such as angels.

Larger gravestones also meant that there was more room for tributes to the deceased to be inscribed onto the stone. Their date of birth began to be added as well as the date of death, along with a message that would say what they meant to their loved ones. People also began to use gravestones to show their religious beliefs.

Today it is more common for gravestones to be made from granite. This is a durable material that is also very cost effective. Laser engraving is a very popular way of inscribing the gravestone in the modern era. This allows symbols and words to be inscribed onto the stone with ease.