Types of Memorials

What is a Memorial?

In general a memorial is an object or occasion which honors or celebrates the memory of a person, or an event. A memorial may take the form of a landmark, sculpture, statue, building, fountain, park, poem or holiday.

A memorial for a grave, or used to mark the remains of a deceased person, can take on many forms.

Different types of memorial stones for graves

Traditionally, a memorial was carved from marble or other soft stone, as it is fairly easy to shape, polish and engrave. More recently, because marble is found to weather very quickly, almost all memorials are made from granite. A granite memorial can last hundreds of years without showing much wear. This is due to the fact that modern carving tools have made the process much easier to cut the granite, which has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, where marble has a hardness of only 4. For reference, diamonds are at the top of the scale with a hardness of 10.

What is a Headstone?

A headstone is a monument or memorial stone specifically placed at the head of a grave. Also, see tombstone, gravestone, grave marker, and monument.

What is the difference between Tombstones, Gravestones, and Grave Markers?

These terms are synonymous, and can be used interchangeably to describe a flat or raised memorial stone. These stones may be laid at the head of a grave, and therefore become a "headstone", but may also be placed at the foot of a grave, or cover it completely. The term "marker," however, is usually used to describe a stone laid flat on the ground, as in "flat grass marker".

What is a Ledger?

A ledger is a flat marker who's width is greater than its length, which fully or partially coves a grave.

What is a Pillow Marker?

A pillow marker is a stone which is raised slightly higher in the back than in the front, but who's width is greater than it's height. A pillow may be set into concrete, or sit directly on a concrete or granite foundation.

What is a Slant Memorial?

A slanted memorial is a small raised monument, who's height is greater than its width, which is slanted downward from front to back. A slant may sit directly on a foundation or on top of a base, but it must have a foundation. If a slant does not have a base, it will have a flattened front, typically 2" tall, called "nosing", which is used to protect it from being hit and cracked.

What is an Upright Tablet?

A tablet monument is a tall memorial stone which typically sits on a base, and has a foundation. In some cases, as in the example of the government supplied marble tablets for military veterans, instead of having a base and foundation, a tablet may be partially buried into the ground to give it structure.

What is a Monument?

A monument may be a stone, statue, or structure commemorating a deceased person. A grave monument is typically a raised stone at the head of a grave, but may also be in the form of a building placed nearby or over a grave.

What is a Shutter Door?

A memorial shutter is the door covering of a crypt or mausoleum unit. A niche shutter is the door covering the front of a columbarium unit, or niche. A shutter is typically engraved with a name or names, dates, and often an epitaph. See Columbarium, Mausoleum, and Crypt for more information on these structures.

What is a Columbarium?

A columbarium is a raised structure or wall, separated into niche units containing the cremated remains of an individual. The front of a columbarium unit is called a niche shutter.

What is a Mausoleum?

A mausoleum is a raised structure containing the bodily remains of a person or people. A mausoleum can be small, containing only one person, or take the form of a large building containing many remains, separated into units or rooms, and covered by a shutter door.

What is a Crypt?

A crypt is an underground room or vault, typically underneath a church, containing the bodily remains of the deceased.

What is a Cenotaph Wall?

A cenotaph is a grave where the body is not present, or a memorial erected to honor a person or multiple people, where the deceased have not been interred. A cenotaph may look exactly like any other grave, and is often not located in a cemetery.
A Cenotaph wall is a typically a memorial wall erected and engraved with the names of those lost at sea, in war, or by some other means where recovery or transportation of a body would be difficult or impossible.

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