Monday, August 18, 2014


Judy Royal Glenn Photography  

The Athens Photography Guild was given special permission to photograph at the Oconee Hill Cemetery August 16, 2014.  Thirteen members from APG enjoyed photographing this amazing landmark.  

This shot I titled "Broken" because I was trying to hide the fact that his right arm was broken off.  During editing of the photo, I noticed his big toe was also broken off.

We met for a quick group photo then spread out our separate ways.  The cemetery expands 100 acres so trying to keep everyone together would have been impossible. 

  I have only taken a few photos of cemeteries in my life, so I was intrigued with the rocks I found on the headstones.  When the Sexton of the cemetery drove up, I asked him why there were rocks on the markers.  He gave me an explanation, then once I got home, I did a little research.

I read the origin of the rocks on grave stones is uncertain, but the basic meaning from what I understand is a stones symbolizes that someone has come to visit, the loved one is not forgotten, or it may be a symbol of enduring love for the departed.  I also read that it may have stemmed for the ancient tradition of marking graves with a pile of stones.  One person also wrote that it was a Jewish custom because flowers are not permitted in a Jewish cemetery.

What is truth or hearsay I don't know, but I thought it was a neat gesture.  This headstone had 33 rocks on it.

Toward the end of the morning I came upon small headstones very close together, and they were scattered everywhere.  I was saddened and started to get tears in my eyes when I figured what the markers represented.  They were the markers of infant deaths.  Some markers represented a single child buried there with the infants name month and year etched on the stone.  I found a few stones where twins were buried.  One stone I found told of a really sad story.  A couple had an infant son who lived from 1935-1937, then an infant daughter who died in 1938.


  1. It might sound strange but my sister, daughter, and I love to roam through cemeteries. I grew up in Europe and Mom used the ancient cemeteries as history lessons.

    We talked about how the people might have lived and cried to see whole families killed from the plague or other diseases.

  2. I did not know you grew up in Europe! Cemeteries are sad places, but I know that where my mom is buried only holds her body. She is living in Heaven and having a blast!!!!

  3. They're not sad to me. They're fascinating glimpses into history. You can tell so much about a people and their lifestyles from engravings. Slightly warped, I know. :)


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