Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Charles H. Faulkner

Committee Members

Benita J. Howell, Susan R. Frankenberg


Though a number of authors have stressed the importance of using cemetery data to study culture change through time, most of the available studies in this regard have been general in nature and completed without statistical analysis. Few studies have concentrated specifically on small, rural cemeteries, and fewer still have concentrated on regions outside of New England. The southern Appalachian Mountains are but one of the many regions that has yet to be studied in-depth. This thesis is an attempt to bridge some of the aforementioned gaps. Historic cemetery data collected in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be analyzed to examine hypotheses about the way headstones differ between age groups and genders through time. It is hypothesized that stones will increase in size and possess more intricate detail through time, a result of increasing modernity and improved access to goods and services. It is also hypothesized that stones will display differences in status between genders and age groups. The data indicate that stones have become larger and more ornate through time, that there is little difference between how men and women were treated in death, that religious faith has remained more or Jess constant for the past century and a half, that stones tend to display less personalized information in recent years, and that children under the age of five often possess more personal information, including kin terms, on their stones.

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