Grave markers are often the only physical evidence of a person’s existence and offer opportunities for even ordinary people to ‘speak’ from the grave. Sometimes the deceased selects the marker or leaves instructions for its composition.
In modern times, the grieving family typically chooses the type, style, motif, and inscription according to commercial availability, aesthetic appeal, and budgetary constraints. A cemetery visitor will likely have no idea of the actual circumstances that caused a particular marker to have its shape, design, and decorative elements.
Like other possessions, markers are subject to fashion trends and since the advent of mass production and laser techniques, markers once unique for their individual carving may now be distinctive because modern technology permits extensive customization.
This booklet seeks to provide the reader with an overview of the most frequently encountered marker types (shapes), styles, and motifs in Deep East Texas. Photographs are entirely from East Texas cemeteries, and thus may omit markers common in other areas.
Adgent, Nancy; Beisel, Perky; and Avery, George, "Deep East Texas Grave Markers: Types, Styles, and Motifs" (2010). CRHR: Archaeology. 2.
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