Burial Hill Tour: Burying the Dead in the Early Republic

American burial customs changed dramatically in the years of the Early Republic, 1785-1820. Slate gravestones were replaced with marble monuments. Individual graves became family plots. The phrase “In memory of” replaced the older “Here lies the body” in epitaphs. Winged skulls and cherub faces were replaced with urns, willows, and other new symbols. The landscape of new burial grounds became structured and organized, and funerals changed from sometimes raucous community events to somber, religious family rituals. Stephen O’Neill, Executive Director of the Hanover Historical Society, will explore these changes, which occurred throughout the nation, as they are found on Plymouth’s Burial Hill and across the South Shore.

This free, one-hour tour begins at the very top of Burial Hill.

About History in Progress: Burial Hill Tours

The Plymouth Antiquarian Society and Pilgrim Hall Museum continue their partnership in a free public tour series of Plymouth’s historic Burial Hill for the 2022 season. This year’s program is returning to a live, in-person format for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. A limited series of four themed history tours will be offered in person at Plymouth’s ancient burying ground at 1 p.m. on the first Saturday of every other month from April to October. The event will not be simultaneously streamed or broadcast live; however, an enhanced and audio-corrected digital version of each tour will premiere online the month following each live event. Visit our Burial Hill page for more information.

No reservations required for individuals and families. May involve strenuous walking on steep hillside. Severe weather may cancel tour; check our Facebook pages and websites for updates.