Tomb and Mausoleum Descriptions

In addition to gravestones, one can find many different types of tombs and mausoleums in cemeteries. Here is a list of some of the different types of tombs and mausoleum styles I have seen in my explorations, along with brief descriptions. As I discover other examples, I will update this list.

For more information about any of the tombs or mausoleums listed below, please read Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography by Douglas Keister. This book has been my source for the information on this page, and the author goes into MUCH more detail.

Please note - all the photos below were taken by me. If you'd like to know which cemetery they were taken at, please e-mail me.




Table Tomb

Table Tomb Large, flat stone that is supported by legs that resemble pillars (usually six). The top of the stone contains the epitaph.
Chest Tomb

Chest Tomb Looks like a large chest or trunk. The epitaph is almost always found on the top of the tomb. Although it appears that the tomb could contain a body, most of the time they do not; the body is actually buried.
Coffin Tomb

Coffin Tomb Gravestone that is shaped like a coffin.
Casket Tomb

Casket Tomb Gravestone that is shaped like a casket.

Sarcophagus Large tombs that look like they would actually contain a body. However, most of the time the body is actually buried under them.

Exedra Large monuments that are shaped like a long, curved bench. Most also contain statues.

Tumulus Look like large mounds; often look like a mausoleum that is built into a hill.
Baroque Mausoleum

Baroque Architecture Mausoleums that have a flowing design with lots of decoration.
Classical Mausoleum

Classical Architecture Mausoleums that contain columns; look similar to structures built by the ancient Greeks.
Gothic Mausoleum

Gothic Architecture Mausoleums that have lots of towers and pointed arches.
Egyptian Mausoleum

Egyptian Architecture Mausoleums that are shaped like pyramids, or mausoleums that contain sphinxes, a symbol of a circle with vulture wings, or twin cobras. In addition, the obelisk is also a form of Egyptian architecture.

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