I have been supervising this year’s Overleigh Cemetery Archaeological Survey with third-year students from the University of Chester, as discussed here. Last week we went back to undertake the second of three weeks surveying Victorian and Edwardian memorials in the Anglican section of the northern, older, part of the cemetery.
This time we had cold but dry weather and some sunshine to help us pick out faded text on some memorials. The students now worked in pairs, and with a determination to make progress after a disappointing first week. I set two students to go back over and check and make revisions to the memorial recording forms of the first week. Everyone else was set on new memorials, recording their dimensions, materials, form, ornamentation, texts and orientation.
This week we made far better progress, recording over 70 memorials. In so doing, we encountered a bewildering variety of memorial types, some raised for individuals, many raised for families. We also encountered some striking examples of recently toppled memorials, which to my bizarre way of seeing things looked as if they had been hit by Angry Birds.
With over 100 memorials now recorded, we still face a very busy third week in order to give each student a solid sample of memorials with which to conduct their research for their Death and Burial assignments. Last year the third-years recorded over 200, so we are hoping to match their total by the end of this week.