Gravestones provide a useful means of observing and measuring the degradation of different types of rock over relatively long periods of time (100 to 300 or more years). Within the United Kingdom and North America gravestones are widespread and are made of a variety of local and imported natural stones. These gravestones provide information on how such materials can behave under different climatic conditions and under different intensities of atmospheric pollution. Using such information may be of use in assessing the relative durability of different types of natural building materials. In addition, relative rates of erosion can be measured from such data and used to assess and predict rates of change within models of landscape development.
These pages outline the different types of weathering found on gravestones, possible mechanisms of weathering, methods for measuring weathering as well as some results from gravestone studies. The site is not meant to be a finished product. They are designed with one eye to 'A' level projects as I have received a lot of questions over the last few years from such students. This page may provide some answers to their questions. It is hoped that it will develop as I add to it and as people visit it, make suggestions and provide their own data from their own studies. Please feel free to contact either by email or snail mail at the addresses below if you would like to comment or suggest additions to the site. As with any fieldwork, the study of gravestones is potentially dangerous so the appropriate precautions and permissions should always be undertaken.
Structure of Site
Dr Rob Inkpen, Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth, Lion Terrace, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO1 3HE
Tel: (023) 9284 2467
Fax: (023) 9284 2512
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