This project documented the deterioration of older tombstones in Saint Mary’s Catholic Cemetery. To accomplish this, I first created a data dictionary using GPS Pathfinder software, and uploaded this dictionary to my Juno Trimble unit. I chose to use points for the tombstone survey. The fields in my dictionary included Name, Year of birth, Year of death, Whether or not the tombstone is located within a family plot and a menu-optioned field for condition (good, fair, and bad).

I surveyed two line features to indicate the outer-boundaries of the primary access road and parking area for this cemetery, and a polygon for the plot areas. The tombstone survey was completed by a snaking transect along rows of tombstones. Tombstones which were legible, clean, and showing very little deterioration were labeled as “good condition,” those which had signs of weathering, or small cracks were “fair condition” and those which were missing pieces, severely cracked or weathered, and barely legible received a “bad condition” rating. I noticed that there are few tombstones dating prior to 1900 that include a birth year in the epitaph. There are also several tombstones (more recently placed) which are located just at the edge of the plot perimeter. Because of this close proximity, the error shows through fairly well in my final map.


Upon uploading my data to Arcmap10.1, I realized there was a fair amount of crossover regarding the boundaries of the access road and edge of plot area. This was a result I was unable to change, even after differential correction of the data.

            I utilized my data dictionary to change the symbology of my tombstone survey to reflect their conditions. I chose a red hue for bad, yellow for fair, and blue for good.

Published by Nikki M

Applied Anthropologist and Digital Dance Specialist

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