Cemeteries offer a wealth of research opportunities in many fields.

Graves are a rich source of communications and information. The visual and textual elements visible on the grave form a reflection of the social identity of the deceased. The communications that are present can be divided in:

 

Communications about the deceased and his life. Minimally the name and the chronological and sometimes the spatial fixation of birth and death are visible.

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Cavalese 

Name of the deceased and date of birth and death are visible.

The location Cavalese - Italy is interesting. The deceased is a victim of the Cavalese cable car disaster. 3 February 1998 a jet cut a cable supporting a gondola of an aerial tramway, causing the gondola to plunge 80m (260 ft) down: 20 people died.

Often elements such as a photo, symbols of profession, hobby and status are added.

Differences how a deceased was depicted in the past and in our modern time are clearly visible.

Communications addressed to the deceased, such as letters, Christmas cards, birthay cards and drawings. They give evidence to the fact that there is a bond maintained between the next of kin and the deceased. The deceased is incorporated into family events and special days of family life. An interesting question is if this ongoing bond has some kind of expiry date. Of special interest is how the deceased is addressed: generally speaking, by his name or nickname or family tie.

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Drawing

Translation: 

Every day

... warmth

... love

...huggings

... I miss you

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Birthday card

Translation:

My darling, enjoy up there (in heaven) your 21st birthday.

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Message

Translation:

Granddad

I Know I will see you never again, but I'm sure I will hear and feel you.

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The pet speaks

The next of kin speaks through the pet

Translation:

We miss you, your cats

Communications from the deceased addressed to the world of the living.

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Translation:

Thank you for your visit

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Translation:

Welcome

Nice, that you now and then pay a visit to my last resting place.

Grave visiting rituals: Often next of kin talk to the deceased, what do they say? When tending the grave or touching the grave marker / photo they seem to sensing it as being almost in physical contact to the deceased.

Normally the cause of death remains unknown, but from time to time it can be communicated, directly or indirectly.

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Suicide ?

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Homicide

Translation:

Thomas Cook - Neckerman travel guide

murdered in Manacor

Palma de mallorca

There are many extraordinary situations: gender issues, stillborn, dysfunctional relationship between the deceased and his family.

Why and how are they communicated on the grave ?

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Dysfunctional family relationship.

Translation:

Profiteers, hypocrites, demons of money, and parasites are not wellcome here.

Her son

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Grave desecrator

Translation:

Christmas 2016

Message to the grave desecrator.

Heal your sick mind and dirty hands, bring back what you have stolen.

Nearly 25 years the symbol of my beloved wife stood here.

Conclusion: cemeteries and graves offer enough topics to study and keep one busy for a lifetime.