Burial and Death in Colonial North America: Exploring Interment Practices and Landscapes in 17th-Century British Settlements

Burial and Death in Colonial North America: Exploring Interment Practices and Landscapes in 17th-Century British Settlements

by Robyn S. Lacy

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Overview

While late 17th- and 18th-century burial grounds of colonial North America are frequently the subject of research, wide-scale studies of 17th-century burial landscapes are often the less documented aspect of these sites. This book aims to fill some of that gap by exploring the relationships and organization of early British colonial burial grounds within the context of their own settlements and the wider northeast coast. Early settlers immigrated to North America for many reasons, and there, away from the Church of England, they could freely explore their relationship with their faith, community and death, represented today through the organization of their burial landscapes and burial practices. By studying the relationship between burial grounds and their associated settlements, we gain a more holistic understanding of how settlers related to, interpreted, and ultimately handled the reality of human mortality.  


This book examines the organization of 40 burial grounds founded by British settlers on the northeast coast of North America in the 17th century, with the intention of identifying trends in burial ground organization during this period of early colonization. The results can be applied to archaeological or historical research on colonial settlements that have not yet located their earliest burial ground. The book expands the current knowledge base of settler relationships with mortality through the physical placement of burials and interaction with burial landscapes within their new settlements.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781789730463
Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited
Publication date: 09/09/2020
Series: Emerald Points Series
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 986,786
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.75(h) x (d)

About the Author

Robyn S. Lacy is a historical archaeologist and independent researcher. She has published articles on 17th-century gravestones, the public archaeology of death and winter burial practices in multiple journals and publications. She also writes about her research on her blog, Spade & the Grave.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii

1 Introduction 1

Research Area and Background 3

Literary Review 7

Burial Landscapes 7

Burial Grounds 11

Grave Markers 14

'Britishness' in Colonial Settlements 19

Research Methods and Questions 21

Terminology 22

Chapter Summaries 28

Conclusion 29

2 Effects of the Protestant Reformation on British Burial Traditions and British North America in the Early Seventeenth Century 31

Pressures of Change - Burial Rites in Britain Preceding the Protestant Reformation 31

Effects of the Protestant Reformation on British Burial Tradition 37

British North America in the Early Seventeenth Century 43

3 Seventeenth-century Burial Practices and Landscapes on the East Coast 51

Below the Surface 54

Gravestones in the Seventeenth-century Atlantic World 59

Seventeenth-century Gravestone Iconography 65

Protective Marks in a Mortuary Context 68

Conclusions 76

4 Statistical Analysis of Seventeenth-Century Burial Landscapes in British North America 77

Settlement Organization in the Seventeenth Century 80

Statistical Analysis of Burial Ground Organization 95

Results of the Analysis 99

5 Case Study: The Colony of Avalan at Ferryland, Newfoundland 107

The British and Irish in Seventeenth Century Newfoundland 108

Evidence of Deaths at Ferryland 112

The Search for the Seventeenth Century Burials at Ferryland 114

Additional Case Study: Guilford, Connecticut 122

Guilford, Connecticut 123

6 Discussion and Conclusions 129

Discussion 129

Further Questions and Directions 134

Conclusions 138

References 141

Primary Sources 141

Secondary Sources 143

Index 161

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