Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute

Erie County Historic Cemetery Survey

The Erie County Historic Cemetery Survey is a multi-year project that involves cemetery documentation, historic research, gravemarker analyses, geophysical survey, and cemetery/gravemarker restoration in northwestern Pennsylvania. The project combines the work of Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute faculty, staff, and students in partnership with the Erie County Genealogical Society and local communities.

To date, the project has produced a comprehensive database of historic cemetery and marker information for Erie County, a variety of in-depth cemetery, gravemarker and genealogical studies, and valuable information regarding preservation trends and threat assessments to individual markers, sites and classes of cemetery. Mercyhurst faculty and students, and representatives from the Erie County Genealogical Society have also provided restoration and preservation workshops at a number of local sites.

The Erie County Historic Cemetery Survey provides MAI students with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with data collection and recordation in the field, typological analyses, spreadsheet analyses, and historical context research. Historic cemeteries are one of the most important types of archaeological site for reconstructing past communities and their landscapes, and gravemarkers are one of the most fascinating and informative classes of historic material culture. Cemetery and gravemarker analyses provide our students with the opportunity to explore how societal reproduction is achieved in the past through the creation of place and the active use of material culture.

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