Numerous explanations for archaeologically observed variation in the treatment of the dead have been posited by archaeologists, including but not limited to differentiation in rank, social organization, philosophical-religious beliefs and the rise and fall of social trends. The focus of this study is to explore the variation of headstones, their epitaphs and the arrangement of graves within two different cemeteries in the antebellum United States after reviewing the theory concerning variation in the archaeological record. The dialectical contrast of these variables between the Common Burying Ground cemetery in Newport, Rhode Island and a slave cemetery in New Orleans, Louisiana will demonstrate that both social organization and religious beliefs can be driving factors influencing the treatment of the dead.
Spott, Elizabeth K.
"An Overview of Variation in Archaeologically Observed Mortuary Practices: A Case Study Examining Grave Placement, Headstone Type and Epitaph Content in Two Slave Cemeteries,"
Field Notes: A Journal of Collegiate Anthropology: Vol. 2
, Article 9.
Available at: https://dc.uwm.edu/fieldnotes/vol2/iss1/9