Date of Award

December 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Patricia B. Richards

Committee Members

Robert J. Jeske, Robert J. Watson


Cemetery, Coffin Hardware, Historic Archaeology, Mortuary Studies


The concern of the Saints Peter and Paul parish members regarding the history and identity of the individuals buried in an almost forgotten section of the cemetery created an opportunity for archaeologists to work with a community by providing a voice for those buried there and facilitating community understanding and healing. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the temporal indicators of the Saints Peter and Paul cemetery to determine if the coffin hardware and associated artifacts present in excavated burials reflect the expected time of interment. The expected period of interment is 1872-1930. Coffin hardware and associated artifacts are compared to types present in patents and period hardware catalogs to determine their potential dates of manufacture. Ultimately this comparison determined the expected dates of use match the types and variety of materials present in and on the coffins. Additional temporal evidence examined includes the seriation of gravestones in the existing portion of the cemetery, and an examination of the cemetery layout. The gravestone seriation shows the recovered markers, based on the material they are constructed from, would fall into time ranges consistent with the expected outcome. Studying the layout of the cemetery suggests a range of 1872-1912, well within the expected range.