Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Neil L. Norman
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.
Williams, Courtney, "The Dead Yet Speak: 17th and 18th Century Gravestones in the Virginian Colonial Triangle" (2012). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 462.
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