Stone grave markers, headstones and tombstones have been used for thousands of years. The practice began during the Roman and Greek civilizations when people used stone monuments to honor the dead and prevent the desecration of graves. In the US, gravestone carvers used various kinds of rock for burial markers depending upon the historical period. In earlier times, there were no cemeteries and people buried their loved ones near their family homes.
During the 17th century, the Puritans of New England used simple wooden or stone grave markers. According to the website Digital History, they believed that carving anything other than words would violate the biblical commandment against creating craven images. The stones were marked with the deceased person’s name, age and year of death and were carved into rough stones, rocks, wood, slate and sandstone. Many tombstones from this period reflected a colonial fear of the afterlife because a common belief was that only a few people would be allowed into heaven and everyone else would be categorized as sinners. When public cemeteries evolved in the 19th century, people began to assign importance to gravestones as a way to memorialize the dead. At this time, people began adding epitaphs and other wordings to pay tribute to their loved ones. The advantage to this tradition was that by reading the grave marker, you were able to get more information about the deceased’s family history.
In the 19th century, people began adding symbols such as the Star of David, Eye of Horus, maple leaves, flowers, horseshoes, swords, etc. depending upon their religious beliefs, occupation, social class and other indicators of their status and position in life.
Due to its strength and durability, granite has been the primary stone used for grave markers since the late 19th century in America. The granite is commonly gray in color but can be other colors depending upon where the granite was mined.
When it is your time to choose a headstone, grave marker, mausoleum, etc. for your loved one, contact Polchinski Memorials. We have been assisting families for decades with this important decision and we will help you make the best decision for yourself and your family. Call us at 914-984-4198, 914-984-4424 or 203-413-1345 in Connecticut. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org. Located in Hawthorne, New York, Polchinski Memorials is dedicated to providing the best customer service in the Tri-State area.