Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gravemarkers, Headstones and Monuments

A headstone, tombstone, or gravestone is a marker, usually stone, that is placed over a grave. They are traditional for burials in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions. The information on the headstone generally includes the name of the deceased and their date of birth and death. Such information can be useful to genealogists and local historians.

Their main purpose is to create a place for mourning and remembrance. Names are often added to a gravestone over the years, so that one marker may chronicle the passing of an entire family spread over time. Cemetery plots cost money and they can be considered a symbol of wealth or prominence within a community, along with an expensive monument. Some gravestones have even been commissioned and erected by people who were still living, as a testament to their wealth and status.

A cemetery may limit the size and use of certain materials, so be sure and check with your counselor before choosing a headstone. Granite is a hard stone and requires skill to carve by hand. Modern methods of carving include computer-controlled rotary bits and sandblasting over a rubber stencil. Leaving the letters, numbers and emblems exposed on the stone, sandblasting can create virtually any kind of design.

Both limestone and marble take to carving fairly well. Marble is a recrystallised form of limestone. However, acid in rainwater can slowly dissolve marble and limestone over time, which can make inscriptions unreadable. Marble is also a beautiful choice, although a more expensive material for headstones.  Granite is a popular and cost effective choice for manufacturing cemetery memorials for many families today.

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