Term of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social Sciences (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Sue M. Moore

Committee Member 1

Heidi Altman

Committee Member 2

Matthew Williamson

Abstract

Cemeteries are important components of history. Surveying cemeteries is a good way to not only keep track of the information that cemeteries contain, but it also can provide a professional, systematic and standardized way of recording information and presenting it to the public. The preservation of cemeteries through recording information from the gravestones remains an important task that needs to be undertaken. Preservation, in this context, refers to having a comprehensive record of the gravestone data and maps of the gravestone locations to aid those who seek to garner information from the cemetery as well as preventing the loss of this crucial information to a disaster, all without damage to the cemetery or the gravestones. This study was conducted for the purpose of determining the most comprehensive method of gathering gravestone data and mapping cemeteries with consideration to cost effectiveness, time efficiency, data accuracy and quantity of data. For the purpose of this study three specific types of technology were used to gather gravestone data and map each cemetery. These technologies included a handheld Global Positioning System (GPS), a total station, and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology. In order to determine the effectiveness of using LiDAR, surveys were conducted in two cemeteries in the Southeastern United States -- Ebenezer Lutheran Cemetery in Ebenezer, Georgia which has an earliest recorded burial of 1813 and a cemetery located on Mont Repose plantation in Coosawhatchie, South Carolina which has an earliest recorded burial of 1885. As a result, for the purposes of this study, the LiDAR scan was not the most effective as far as cost, time and quantity of data. It is a good additional resource to use in a cemetery survey, and a comparative analysis of information obtained by all the survey methods supports this result. In conclusion, while LiDAR is a new and effective tool in the archaeologist's toolbox. Like any technology it has constraints. While it may prove to be useful, it should be used in conjunction with other methods to produce the best results.

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