Posts Tagged ‘sarcophagus’

Orestes Sarcophagus, ad 100 125, Greek marble, Roman, Italy (1)

This 2nd century Roman sarcophagus is in the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Orestes Sarcophagus, ad 100 125, Greek marble, Roman, Italy (4)

Orestes Sarcophagus, ad 100 125, Greek marble, Roman, Italy (2)

Orestes Sarcophagus, ad 100 125, Greek marble, Roman, Italy (3)

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Haly Sarah Haldeman


I haven’t posted photos of sarcophagi in a while. Sarcophagus tombs in most modern cemeteries just look like they hold a body. The actual person is usually interred below or next to the monument.

Groenbaum (3)

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It’s been a while since I posted photos of sarcophagus tombs. Sarcophagus tombs are those that look like a coffin or similar container for holding a body but do not. The deceased are generally interred in the nearby ground.


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Chest tombs are a particular variety of sarcophagus tomb. According to Stories in Stone, they resemble “a large trunk or shipping container” (32).


Lake View Cemetery has a lot of chest tombs. Usually it’s readily obvious that they’re not real sarcophagi holding a body because they are used as a family monument and then are surrounded by little head-and/or footstones.


I find chest tomb monuments to be interesting, but I don’t find the design aesthetic particularly appealing. Individual chest tombs can have beautiful decoration, but it still seems to me a strange basic design to have become fashionable.



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Sarcophagus tomb with detail leaf carvings on top and the facing side, sitting on top of a stone rectangle

One of the things I’ve been learning about as I read Stories in Stone is about cemetery architecture and what certain things that you find in a graveyard should be called. One of the most interesting monument-types I have read about is the sarcophagus tomb.

A reddish brown stone tomb that looks like a rectangular box with carved rounded edges and a stone that looks like a cushion on top

Sarcophagi are permanent containers for bodies, usually made of stone and located above-ground. Keister states that most sarcophagus tombs in cemeteries are purely ornamental in the sense that they do not actually contain remains, but they look like they could. Lake View Cemetery has a considerable number of sarcophagus tombs.

Sarcophagus tomb with four inverted torches with garlands of leaving strung between them and a carved cushion with curled ends on top

I first noticed this tomb type when I photographed the Wetmores’ monuments on a snowy December day.

Two sarcophaguses with ornately carved legs on top of stone pedestals

Dark gray rectangular tomb with name Horace Kelley in capital letters, above that a pattern of carved Tudor roses, topped by a carved cushion with the edges curled under
There are specific names for certain kinds of sarcophagus tombs that I’ll write about in the future.

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