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Cemetery science

Gravestones are made from a wide variety of rock types, formed in a range of geological settings meaning cemeteries are geological treasure-troves!

Many gravestones are made of polished stone, so reveal details – such as minerals and crystal features – that are not easy to see elsewhere. Some demonstrate the textures and mineral composition of igneous rocks. Other gravestones are happy hunting grounds for lovers of fossils. Some reveal clues to earth movements and environments that occurred hundreds of millions of years ago.


The examination of gravestones can provide useful information about topics ranging from weathering of stone to atmospheric chemistry, effects of pollution, stability and settling in soils and land drainage. Explore our new exhibition and head out to your local churchyard with a magnifying glass to find out more!


Curators: Nina Morgan & Phillip Powell

The Geology of Gravestones has been kindly loaned by the Oxford University Museum of Natural History for a period of three months.


If you would like to find out more about the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and their collections please visit their website here.


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