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Photographer's Note

The stele (plural stelae), as they are called in an archaeological context, is one of the oldest forms of funerary art. Originally, a tombstone was the stone lid of a stone coffin, or the coffin itself, and a gravestone was the stone slab that was laid over a grave. Now all three terms are also used for markers placed at the head of the grave. Originally graves in the 18th century also contained footstones to demarcate the foot end of the grave. Footstones were rarely carved with more than the deceased's initials and year of death, and many cemeteries and churchyards have removed them to make cutting the grass easier. Note however that in many UK cemeteries the principal, and indeed only, marker is placed at the foot of the grave.

Graves and any related memorials are a focus for mourning and remembrance. The names of relatives are often added to a gravestone over the years, so that one marker may chronicle the passing of an entire family spread over decades. Since gravestones and a plot in a cemetery or churchyard cost money, they are also a symbol of wealth or prominence in a community. Some gravestones were even commissioned and erected to their own memory by people who were still living, as a testament to their wealth and status. In a Christian context, the very wealthy often erected elaborate memorials within churches rather than having simply external gravestones. Crematoria frequently offer similar alternatives to families who do not have a grave to mark, but who want a focus for their mourning and for remembrance. Carved or cast commemorative plaques inside the crematorium for example may serve this purpose.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Bharadwaj Vadodaria (bharadwajg) Silver Note Writer [C: 5 W: 2 N: 22] (157)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2011-00-00
  • Categories: Ruins
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2011-05-01 4:40
Viewed: 2045
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Additional Photos by Bharadwaj Vadodaria (bharadwajg) Silver Note Writer [C: 5 W: 2 N: 22] (157)
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