Cemeteries A Cultural, Sociological and Historical Lesson




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Cemeteries are full of history. Have you ever taken a stroll through a cemetery? If you have, you would see the
headstones all tell a story. They may or may not offer us a name, a birthdate, death date, an inscription,
something indicating their career, and even relationships. For instance, during different time periods, you might
see in place of a person’s name, Wife of Dr. Frank Smith. You might notice patterns in the timing of deaths of
children and parents at different time periods. Was there a flu epidemic? Did a mother die giving birth? Did a
young man die in war? Why do some people have large monuments, while others may have crumbling
gravestones? Are the monuments and crumbling gravestones located next to each other? If there are any
dates on the headstones, you can look up the history of grave markers and the materials they were made from.
“To conclude, a lot can be learned about our culture and customs from headstone history. If analyzed properly
it will not be wrong to say that headstone history is all about attitudes, beliefs, and livelihoods of our ancestors.”
(Retrieved 7/26/17 from http://www.wifialliance.org/OpenSection/fascinating-and-interesting-headstonehistory.html)
Be able to integrate research and information from cemeteries and headstones by comparing and contrasting
in order to understand the cultural factors, sociological factors, and historical events represented in the
cemeteries visited.
Assignment Requirements:
You will use research as a basis for your paper. Research should come from professional sources (journal
articles, books, websites, etc.) You will also be examining the headstones in at least 2 cemeteries you visit
personally or online for the purpose of comparing and contrasting what you observed about culture,
sociological factors, and events of historical periods.
Photos of headstones you take while visiting cemeteries or researching online will be in your Appendix.
Your assignment should contain the following information to obtain full credit:
1. A title page (APA format)
2. A short abstract of your paper (Separate page following the title page).
3. A review of your research about grave markers/headstones (before your observations).
4. Integration of your observations of the headstones and research that adequately addresses the following
Cultural Factors (i.e. Traditions and beliefs, religion, economics, art as it pertains to headstones)
Sociological Factors (i.e. Families, Class conflicts/inequalities, race/ethnicity, spiritual beliefs)
Historical Events (i.e. epidemics of disease/illnesses, wars, technological/industrial advances)
First, you should identify the two cemeteries you are using for your study. Secondly, be very clear what
headstones you are comparing and contrasting. This summary should communicate to the reader that you are
able to integrate information, compare and contrast, and summarize information in order to show the reader
you understand the cultural, sociological factors, and historical events represented by the headstones in the 2
cemeteries visited.
5. The final paragraph should contain your personal thoughts and feelings as you were working through this
assignment and after you completed it (this does not need research as this is how you felt or what you thought
as you worked through this assignment and at completion. It isn’t a summary of your information). 
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6. A reference section (Belongs on a separate sheet. The first line of each reference is flush with the left
margin and the second and third lines are indented. See APA format.)
7. An appendix showing pictures of the headstones/cemeteries used for this assignment.
8. Written in APA style. Use New Times Roman, 12 point font, and double-space. 2500 word limit or less.
9. Meet requirements of Scoring Rubric found in the General Section

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