As part of Trent Vale, Nottinghamshire County Council archaeologists are encouraging people to investigate their local graveyards.
Old graveyards bring about mixed feelings in people; some find them eerie while others find them places of peace and memory. This dichotomy of feeling is easy to understand. They are, at the same time, both places of mourning and places where lives are celebrated, and snippets of history encapsulated. They are an important genealogical resource; there is nothing like the feeling of connection when you discover the grave of a great-great ancestor.
Graveyards are often overlooked as an historical resource, and yet they are full of information. Each one is unique, some having distinctive styles of gravestone, others charting the rise and fall of local industries or families. Each graveyard plays memory to bygone days, and each contains curiosities urging the researcher to learn more.
There is a lot of information that can be gleaned from grave markers, but they are being continually eroded by the weather. Graveyard surveys aim to record the inscriptions on the stones, as well as the style and design. A condition survey is a standard element; this records how damaged the stones are, and if they are being damaged by something that could be prevented.
Archaeologists are looking for people to join in the ‘Graveyard Shift’, to come along with them to graveyards and help record the information on the memorials and gravestones.
If you are interesting in finding out more please get in touch with the community archaeologists. Contact Emily Gillott, Community Archaeology, Nottinghamshire County Council 0115 977 2160 email Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org