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Honoring Ancestors in Sacred SpaceThe Archaeology of an Eighteenth-Century African-Bahamian Cemetery$
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Grace Turner

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781683400202

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683400202.001.0001

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European Influence on Eighteenth-and Nineteenth-Century Cemeteries

European Influence on Eighteenth-and Nineteenth-Century Cemeteries

(p.62) 3 European Influence on Eighteenth-and Nineteenth-Century Cemeteries
Honoring Ancestors in Sacred Space

Grace Turner

University Press of Florida

A European-style cemetery space was also examined to understand ways in which these differed from African-influenced cemetery spaces. The Bahamas was a British colony so the focus is on cemetery spaces in Great Britain and colonies in the Americas up to the nineteenth century. Burial spaces we know as cemeteries were first created in the latter part of the eighteenth century. The landscaped, park-like cemeteries date to the nineteenth century. Cemeteries served an entire district or town and were usually located close to a settlement. By the second half of the eighteenth century there were known health risks of burying the dead too close to living populations so regulations required cemeteries to be located away from settled areas. In the Caribbean, until the late eighteenth century, African people, especially in urban areas, were allowed to choose how to memorialize their dead. Centre Burial Ground, an early eighteenth-century cemetery and the oldest surviving cemetery in the Bahamas, is directly across the street from the Northern Burial Ground. Earlier limited excavations within this site indicated this was a park-like, landscaped space until the early twentieth century when it was covered by storm surge.

Keywords:   Bahamas, British colony, cemetery

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