You probably do not spend a lot of time thinking about headstones and cemeteries unless you are planning a funeral for a family member. If you are in the midst of doing this, you may be interested to learn some facts about headstones and cemeteries you may not know about.


Take time to walk through a few cemeteries and look at the headstones, especially the older ones. During the Colonial times, headstones depicted the symbol for a person’s occupation. For example, if someone was a flower gardener, there may be a flower, along with a garden rake or shovel. If someone worked as a carpenter, the headstone may have the symbol of a hammer and square.

The newer headstones you will find in cemeteries are move individualized. You will see photographs of the deceased person laser-etched onto the headstone. You will also see images of activities the person enjoyed, such as reading a book or playing tennis. You may see an angel, cross, or a bible verse for someone that was religious.  You may want to consider using some of these ideas when choosing a headstone for your loved one.

Covered Up

The schools of anatomy in Scotland needed bodies so they could dissect them for their studies. The government supplied them with the bodies of recently executed criminals. They did not have enough bodies, however, and started robbing graves of recently deceased people.

Families started using mortsafes, which were iron cages, to cover up the graves to prevent them from being robbed. If they could not afford a mortsafe, they would cover the grave with stones and flowers so they could detect any disturbances.

Vampire Burials

Dating back to the ancient Babylonians, Greeks, and Egyptians from the 17th to 18th centuries, there have been tales of vampires, which resulted in vampire burials.

Graves were dug up recently by archaeologists, and they found people buried with farming knives around their necks, and/or rocks pushed into their mouth. Both of these things were to prevent the corpse from coming back to life. The knife around the neck would decapitate the person if they tried to rise from the grave, and the rock in their mouth would prevent them from biting.

It is thought that these people actually had cholera, as there was an epidemic of it going around that time.

Green Headstone

If you are having a natural green funeral, you should find a monument builder that uses stone found locally rather than stone that is imported. This reduces the carbon footprint of transportation. If you want to be even greener, use a grave marker instead of a headstone. You will find trees, flowers, and shrubs planted to create a living memorial for your loved one.

If you need help choosing a headstone, contact a professional business, like Palmer Bros Granite Co, in your area. They can show you the different types of stone you can use, as well as what they can offer you in engraving and detailing the headstone.