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An Insight Into Grave Goods

By Tom Sangers

We all know that burials have been marked by headstones since burials began, initially rocks and sticks but developing into much more elaborate and highly crafted memorials and statues over time. It is a subject of great interest to many and as a result we have a wealth of knowledge thanks to cemeteries, ranging from what the different stone symbols mean to what sociological setting the dead would have come from dependant on what gravestone they had. It is generally considered that the wealthier the person, the grander the headstone, however, modern days have shown the trend to shift to more subtle, inconspicuous markers with a simple curved top gravestone and a little bit of inscription regarding the dead.

A subject fascinating to many is the goods that were buried with the bodies at the time of death, especially for archaeological and anthropological reasons, again, a lot of information regarding the dead from the period in which the dead died and what was introduced to the grave in terms of the goods offered can provide a lot of information about the sociological setting of society at that time.

Often, the grave items were personal possessions supplied to help the death pass over to the afterlife. Ancient Egypt is a great subject to research as they believed what was buried with the dead could be used by the dead in the afterlife. They also painted pictures within the tombs of the dead enjoying life and being in the company of family members along with working and other everyday activities. Most grave goods have been classed as inorganic, from terracotta urns to clay pots and metal tools, however, there is evidence to show that some goods have been organic and have decayed over the years.

Grave goods are a type of votive deposit, which simply means any object that is left in the spiritual place for ritual purposes. These ancient offerings have been employed over many faiths over many centuries, from Christianity to Judaism. The first votive deposits in Europe date back to the Neolithic, where polished axe hoards, swords and spearheads were buried with the bodies.

This article was written by Tom Sangers on behalf of AK Lander who offer UK Gravestones and Marble Headstones


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