The Plymouth Colony Archive Project
Regional Studies of Mortuary Customs
in New England

This section of the Plymouth Colony Archive Project presents studies focusing on broader regional and temporal scales than the Plymouth Colony (1620-1691) alone. The first study presented below concerns Jim Deetz and Edwin Dethlefsen's analysis of changes over time in Anglo-American gravestone styles in New England. The next two discuss archaeological evidence found at the Parting Ways site, dating from the 1790s onward, of burial practices consistent with elements of African-American heritage.
dividing bar


death's head grave motif


Death's Head, Cherub, Urn and Willow (1967)


cherub grave motif


Cultural Dimensions of Ethnicity
in the Archaeological Record
(1995)


Parting Ways (1996)



Rendering of a Congo Chieftain's grave, from E. J. Glave, Century Magazine, Vol. 41, p. 827 (1891), in J. M. Vlach, By The Work of Their Hands: Studies in Afro-American Folklife, p. 44, 1991


Some Useful Links:

diamond  Association for Gravestone Studies

diamond  Photo Tour of Grave Stones in Old Burial Hill, Marblehead, Mass.

diamond  Smithsonian Institution: Exploring Historic Cemeteries

diamond  African Burial Ground, New York

diamond  African Slave Markers in Colonial Newport, Rhode Island

diamond  Preservation of African-American Cemeteries, by Chicora Foundation

diamond  African American Archaeology Resources

diamond  Let Others Rest

diamond  Art of the Handcarved Gravestone (D. Wheelock)

dividing bar


Project Home PageArchive Home Page

Tributes to Jim Deetz (1930-2000)

Last Modified: October 29, 2014



© 2000-2014 Copyright and All Rights Reserved by
Patricia Scott Deetz, Christopher Fennell
and J. Eric Deetz

   compass