Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

Anthropology, MA

Committee Chair

Crespo, Fabian

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Marklein, Kathryn

Committee Member

Marklein, Kathryn

Committee Member

Simpson, David

Author's Keywords

cemetery design; cemetery; deathscape; Jefferson county; Cook county


Today, most construction projects require a systematic site qualification based on a suitability analysis utilizing parameters such as slope, soil type, elevation, distance to open water, and distance to transportation. The proper siting determines the success of a project in terms of project stability and longevity. However, has this suitability analysis exist for one of the most significant phases of humanity – death. Historically dead bodies seem to have been placed without suitable qualification being many cemeteries have created environmental problems for the living. Hence, with which placement rationale has been used comes to mind. With a varied array of rationale used in cemetery placement, this thesis aimed to focus on a simple question. Were cemeteries placed based on qualifying criteria mentioned above or not? If so, factors beyond a normal suitability analysis exist. If not, then these qualifying criteria should probably be employed going forward. This question was investigated through a spatial analysis of cemeteries placed in two different geographical areas of the United States.