This re-created graveyard reminds us that death is an inevitable part of life.In early New England, most people were buried in graveyards near the meetinghouse, although some were put to rest in family or neighborhood plots. Some graves were never marked, while others were identified only by wooden boards or unshaped rocks. More commonly, graves were marked by stone slabs, as they customarily are today.Usually made of slate, sandstone, or marble, gravestones were inscribed with chisels, and set up as permanent memorials. Often there were a pair of stones - one at the head and a smaller one at the feet. Headstones give us the names and ages of the departed, and often tell us something about their lives or how they died.Graveyards themselves changed over time. Before 1800 or so, "burying grounds" were usually overgrown with weeds and rarely visited. Families and communities then began to pay more attention to them, and by the mid-1800s they were becoming the landscaped "cemeteries" familiar to us today.This graveyard is a re-creation. There are no bodies buried here, and the early gravestones displayed are ones replaced by newer stones or otherwise in longer in use.Explore local historyEvery community has burying grounds, including yours! Whether hundreds Passing stranger cast an eyeAs you are now, so once was IAs I am now, so you shall bePrepare for death and follow me.- Traditional New England epitaphMost early New England gravestones are also adorned with carved ornamentation and symbolic images, reflecting changing views about death.Gravestone ImagerySkulls and other reminders of death1600s to 1700sWinged faces, picturing the soul leaving the body1700sUrns and willows, classically-inspired symbols of death and hopeearly 1800s
of years old or still in active use, all are tangible records of the lives and beliefs of those who came before us. We encourage you to discover - and respectfully preserve - our cultural heritage in graveyards everywhere.