Hebrew Inscription Preservation in a Jewish Cemetery

Author(s): Taylor Peacock; Ally Poniedzielnik

Year: 2017


Inscription preservation and study is an important part of heritage and historical archaeology. Particular to Jewish cemeteries and their communities is the presence of Hebrew inscriptions such as blessings, or the deceased’s Hebrew name. Our project focused specifically on comparing rates of weathering between Hebrew and English, and we hypothesized that Hebrew inscriptions decayed faster than English ones. We estimated that Hebrew inscription would decay faster because of the curvature of the Hebrew alphabet, and the use of small characters, like the yod. Our site was the Congregation Emanu-el Cemetery in Victoria BC, and our sample consisted of 23 monuments of varying sizes, materials and inscription types across the cemetery. The monuments were dated prior to the 1960’s, and contained both English and Hebrew. Our primary methodology was comparative observation, relying on photographs as records. Our results suggested that Hebrew inscription decays faster than English inscription. Second, factors that affect this weathering include the size and shape of monuments: larger monuments and granite preserved best. Results from this study also indicated that the placement of Hebrew inscription on a monument and the depth of the inscription carving are significant factors in rates of weathering.

Cite this Record

Hebrew Inscription Preservation in a Jewish Cemetery. Taylor Peacock, Ally Poniedzielnik. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 432054)



Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16705