Investigating Cemeteries

While I was reading the three articles that were provided for this theme, it was an overview of the project we are working on. Its extremely sad how people dint find it important to conserve cemeteries. There are so many cemeteries out there that have been abandon,  forgotten, and many have been destroyed. Cemeteries consist of a variety of history, sentimental aspects, as well as historical lands. I have gain a great amount of knowledge  while  working in the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery Project, that I find it heartbreaking having a great amount of cemeteries abandon. Cemeteries are reminders of various settlement patterns, such as villages, rural communities, urban centers, and ghost towns. Cemeteries can reveal information about historic events, religions, lifestyles, and genealogy. I have been able to see a great amount of grave stones used through the years that gives us an idea of how economically the family was during the time of the deceased. We are also able to see if there was any remodeling of the graves throughout the years. Many of the graves consist of a specific saying or an image that says a lot about the deceased.  We were able to identify just by looking at the headstone if it was an adult or a child buried; also by the offerings that many of the graves had. Many of the graves consisted of plants being planted around them or could be the possibility of it being used as a headstone. I seen a couple of trees and ferns planted next to a grave.  We see many graves that are still being visited by the family or friends, a great amount that have been forgotten, and a couple that were from the 1800’s which there might be a chance theirs no more family to come and visit them. The article, Abandoned Burial Ground’s,  mentioned some of the devices we have used during the project, and some that will be used in the next semester, which would be the GPR.  The GPR is most commonly used, and sends radar waves into the ground and then records their reflection back to the GPR unit.  The disturbed soil in grave shafts can be recorded by GPR as locations where the radar travels farther due to the presence of softer soils, while the GPR can also sometimes identify coffin remains as more solid features below less compact soil. GPR’s ability to read the signatures of grave shafts depends on the soil conditions, the height of the water table, the degree of prior disturbance in a location, and the skill of the operator. By using this device, we are going to have an idea if theirs others buried that have not been marked. Its exciting to see how the project is moving forward, and how we are having the ability to have hands on experience. Its a great opportunity for students to have a course offered. In the near future, I hope there would be more opportunities like this for the students.

0 thoughts on “Investigating Cemeteries

  1. Hi, I have to agree with you that it’s really sad that many cemeteries have been abandoned and that people don’t remember them and that family memeber don’t know about them or visit them. I also think that we can learn a lot about history and the people from a cemetery. It wasn’t in the post but what exactly does GPR stand for? Your explanation about the GPR was interesting and informative. I think that using the GPR will give us more information on the cemetery that we can use and it’s also cool that we are giving students the chance to use and understand how it works.

  2. The condition of forgotten graves is definitely heartbreaking, but I think it is also interesting to see how different graves hold up and evolve over time. For example, you mention graves where certain plants were planted. I wonder if these plants were placed before or after markers? In the case where there are no markers, only a specific plant, I wonder if maybe there once was a marker that unfortunately did not withstand the test of time? It is things like this that make our work so interesting. By observing the graves, we can find little clues into their histories. We will probably never know all the stories behind many of the graves but simply wondering about them is enough to save them from being completely forgotten.

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