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Upland Box Tombs: Southern Variants on a Popular Nineteenth Century Grave Cover

Author(s): Hugh B Matternes

Year: 2016

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Box tombs (aka False Crypts) are a common grave cover in late eighteenth and nineteenth century cemeteries.  In areas above the fall line in Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama, local granites and similar igneo-metamorphic stone were used to form rectangular surface chambers approximating the shape and dimensions of their more formally milled counterparts.  While frequently observed, very little is known about the form.  Variants include the slot-and-tab and tombs made from milled stone panels and fieldstones.  When collapsed, box tomb components can be confused for pavements or ledger stones.  Milled panels can be identified as their interiors are frequently hammer-dressed with cut or smoothed margins to allow intersecting panels to fit against one another.  Capstones may be hammer-dressed, polished (usually with an inscription) or gabled.   This review of encountered forms provides a foundation for field identification in southern cemeteries, particularly where collapsed and damaged forms may be encountered. 

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Cite this Record

Upland Box Tombs: Southern Variants on a Popular Nineteenth Century Grave Cover. Hugh B Matternes. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434247)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 556

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America