Assessing Our Heritage Values
Cemeteries are like open history books, with tablets of stone forming the pages. Historians research cemetery records and remaining grave sites, as often they are the only officially recorded information about an area and the people who settled there.
Cemeteries tell us about the cultural and ethnic background of people, their occupations, how long they lived, and sometimes the cause of their death. They provide us with insights into cultural practices and beliefs of days gone by.
Some grave sites are simple, a slab of wood, or a carved piece of stone, with a name and a date scratched on it – others are elaborate sculptures – works of art and architecture.
Unlike most other histories, cemeteries record the lives of all, whether rich or poor, famous or infamous – affirmation of our final and common destiny. Cemeteries provide a valuable historical database.
Artefacts establish patterns of communication with those who use or view them. When we pause to consider the objects produced by the people of a culture we are hearing the voices of that culture. Cemeteries, over time, do come to assume as one of their many functions, the mantle of ‘repository of cultural artefacts’. Every community has one at its doorstep.
Cemeteries are central components or remnants of former cultural historical landscapes. They enjoyed a former position in a community which related to patterns of earlier settlements which may have been transformed or even lost.< Please use the link bar on the right to read more information on how cemeteries represent a community and its history.