Survey workshop at Kilbride Kirkyard

Graveyard resources

The following resources are primarily links and articles relating to a particular category.


Scottish Gravestone and Graveyard Bibliography

Scottish Gravestone and Graveyard Bibliography.pdf

A comprehensive bibliography of gravestone and graveyard studies can be found in the CSA’s Researching Your Graveyard, a free booklet published by Historic Scotland.

What makes a cemetery a cemetery?

What makes a cemetery a cemetery?


An article by Dr Julie Rugg, Cemetery Research Group, University of York


In October 2003 the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the Archaeology Data Service launched the digital publication of the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (volumes 1-128). The Proceedings contain several articles on graveyards and their monuments and a CSA bibliography listing key papers is available (get download). There are many more articles, particularly in the earlier volumes, not included in the bibliography, which discuss single memorials or fragments of stones and some of these studies include sites that may be the remains of early Christian churches. Online access to the Proceedings is free of charge, offered as a service to scholars and other interested readers worldwide.


A typical English churchyard?

An online article by Iain Soden, Historic Churches 2000.


Govan Old Parish Church

This site contains an articles by Betty Willshire, Catherine Cutmore, and Historic Scotland (follow link to Friends of Govan Old).

Conservation: Built heritage

Sources of Financial Assistance the Conservation of Scotland’s Historic Graveyards

Sources of Financial Assistance the Conservation of Scotland’s Historic Graveyards by Dr Susan Buckham published by Historic Scotland in conjunction with the CSA’s Carved Stones Adviser Project. This publication provides information about sources of funding for projects which seek to conserve the fabric or the natural environment of Scotland’s historic graveyards; or to enhance the enjoyment of these graveyards through research, interpretation and education. Potential funding sources for these types of project are identified within the report; with individual entries for each providing contact details and an indication of the type of project work which may be eligible.

Abstracts from 2001 Conference on Historic Graveyards, Edinburgh

Abstracts 2001 Conference on Historic Graveyards, Edinburgh published by Historic Scotland. This publication provides information about the main agencies and organisations involved with the conservation of historic graveyards in Scotland. The Proceedings of this conference have been published by Historic Scotland and are available to purchase.

Aberdeenshire Historic Kirkyards Project

Aberdeenshire Historic Kirkyards Project was developed by Aberdeenshire Council to record the physical and historical importance of individual historic kirkyards in Aberdeenshire. The report incorporates a structural survey to determine the extent to which each kirkyard will need a programme of conservation repairs and an analysis of their contents for future interpretative potential.

Guidelines for Cemetery Conservation by the National Trust of Australia (NSW)

The Guidelines for Cemetery Conservation prepared by the National Trust of Australia (NSW) provide key background reading for anyone undertaking a graveyard project. Note that different legal and cultural considerations can apply to graveyard conservation in Scotland.

Conservation: Natural heritage


The Living Churchyard

The Living Churchyard by David Manning. This article first appeared in The Conservation and Repair of Ecclesiastical Buildings 1999

Graveyard management


Guidance for Graveyard Maintenance by Chicora Foundation (USA)

Guidance for Cemetery Preservation from the Chicora Foundation (USA) includes information on following topics:

  • Lawn Maintenance
  • Removing Climbing Plants from Stone and Masonry
  • Working in Cemeteries (including Sling Safety)
  • Cemetery Ironwork
  • Gravestone Cleaning
  • Gravestone Resetting


Guidance for Graveyard Maintenance by Woodlawn Cemetery (Canada)

Gravestone weathering


The Gravestone weathering website Dr Rob Inkpen, Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth, contains a description of gravestone weathering, methods to measure weathering, a bibliography of weathering papers and gravestone weathering data.



Online geological map of Scotland and glossary

Scottish Geology provides a national geological map, which is accompanied by comprehensive descriptions of the geology of specific regions across Scotland. This website also provides a glossary of geological terms.


Earth Science Education Unit

The Earth Science Education Unit, based at Keele University, provides free educational resources cross England, Scotland and Wales.


Online rock identification guides

General help with identifying different rock types can be found on the Potteries Museum’s website, which offers a straightforward guide to distinguishing between the most common types of rocks and on the Government of British Columbia’s Ministry of Energy and Mines, from which a comprehensive guide to identifying rocks can be downloaded. As both these resources deal with geology outside Scotland they offer useful introductions rather than definitive guidance.

Gravestone and graveyard designs


Gravestone Carvings and Symbols

The Carved Stones Adviser Project Introduction to Graveyard Recording booklet contains sections and gravestone designs and symbols (get download). Several online guides have been developed by local historians dealing with gravestone symbols and carvings.


Online Articles

Educational resources


Graves and Gravestones, Local History BBC Liverpool

Provides an example of the importance of graveyards as a source for local history.