Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Neil L. Norman

Committee Members

Marley R. Brown

Martin D. Gallivan

James P. Whittenburg


For this honors thesis, 17th and 18th century cemeteries were surveyed within the Virginia Colonial Triangle, which includes the Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown colonies. In this region, 11 cemeteries and 117 gravestones were reviewed. This thesis builds on the theorization of Barbara J. Mills and William H. Walker's "Memory Work" that suggests the practices of communicating social memory are materialized in the archaeological record, and thus, by studying these gravestones, we can better understand what cultural and religious values the colonists held about death and the afterlife. In framing the argument, the thesis presents statistical analyses of these gravestones' inscriptions. Based on these tests and a review of documentary sources, it is concluded that temporal changes in their epitaph phrases stem from the Great Awakening's transformations in religious and cultural values, similar to the conclusion proposed by archaeologists James Deetz and Edwin Dethlefsen for New England's colonial gravestones.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

On-Campus Access Only