Whether a headstone goes at the head or the feet is a common queryIn many cases, headstones are inserted at the head that a graveThis means that the body is positioned in former of the markerModern cemetery rules and layout can pose exception to this approach
Where is the headstone put on a grave? while the answer might seem obvious to some, a headstone must follow that is namesake and also be put at the head. However, this is not constantly the case and also can vary in part circumstances. This write-up details why things aren’t together straightforward together they seem and also how you deserve to determine the right approach.

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What room Headstones?

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A headstone is an identifying marker that is inserted over a grave. In the funeral industry, the terms headstone, dig marker, gravestone, and tombstone are often used interchangeably. This does not mean they room the very same thing, although they all include a name, date of birth, and date that death. Countless markers are also inscribed through epitaphs or prayers.

What is a Footstone?


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A footstone or foot mite is a level square monument make of rock that sit at the foot-end the a grave. Lock were initially commissioned along with a headstone come signal the size of a burial site. This served two vital functions – come prevent world from walking end the body laid underneath out of respect, and to certain there to be no risk of excavation from surrounding burials.While they to be an accessory come the key headstone, the use of a footstone top top its own to note a person’s last resting ar is ending up being mainstream. This is early out to cost savings as well as cemetery layout rules.

Footstone Prices

While the mean price that a headstone is $2,000 and upwards, a footstone will cost approximately $1,000. This figure will vary depending on the selection of material, supplier, and also the intricacy of engraving.

Where is the Headstone inserted on a Grave?


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As implied by the name, a headstone is usually placed at the head of a grave to both identify and also memorialize a person. This approach has roots in Christian tradition, wherein a marker would certainly be collection with the head of the deceased to the west while their feet spicy east. The placement of body this way meant that those departed will face the climbing sun and also Jesus top top his resurrection.

Can anyone put a headstone top top a grave?

For windy cemeteries, you need a deed of provide citing the you room the lawful owner that the funeral plot to download a headstone. This human is typically the executor that the will. Keep in mind that those registered as grave owners room still tied by the regulations and design standards of the cemetery.

Headstone placement because that couples

The use of companion headstones is a popular option for couples who wish to be buried together. In this scenario, a headstone or grave mite is focused at the head the both deceased. Friend will frequently find the the husband is buried on the left v his wife on the right. This complies with biblical legacies where distinct honor is extended to those ~ above the right-hand side.

Cemetery headstone placement


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While the majority of burials have the headstone put at the head, contemporary cemeteries adopt a selection of orientations. The rule of placement are now dictated through the architecture of the burial ground and also the best use of obtainable space. This way that components such together maintenance, the landscape of sites, and also practical considerations such together pedestrian accessibility will dictate whereby a headstone sits.You will discover that each cemetery has distinctive regulations around the type and layout of headstone to use, together with standards for installation. These requirements may likewise vary in between sections that the grounds (e.g. Granite monuments only in one area while one more strictly allows flat plaques).Less stringent cemeteries allow the household to select their desired orientation. This has actually resulted in further confusion approximately headstone placement being at either the head or the feet. If you are keen top top one style of marker, ensure the you examine with the cemetery before purchasing the burial plot.

Headstone location – why the confusion?

On optimal of different cemetery rules, knowing where a headstone sit on a grave is confusing early out to cultivation footstone use. An ext recently, footstones have popularized as result of the layout of family members plots or basic lack that space. Come the untrained eye, that is tough to distinguish in between a flat gravestone (placed at the head) and also a foot mite or footstone (placed in ~ the feet).Instead of simply marking dig boundaries, footstones are currently used together standalone memorials. This is usual in modern cemeteries wherein foot markers are often used instead of a headstone. The general public is largely unaware that this change, bring about a mix-up of headstone placement ideals.

Headstone placement for different Cemetery Types


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Certain funeral plot varieties or sections in ~ a cemetery will have varied rules for headstone placement. In this scenarios, it isn’t instantly clear even if it is a headstone goes in ~ the head or feet. These include:

Family funeral plots

Some cemeteries offer family plots that enable many graves to be interred about a single huge headstone or monument. Together each family members member passes, the separation, personal, instance is buried with your head dealing with the marker and also an identifying footstone at their feet. This arrangement resembles a cluster approximately the focused headstone.

Plots because that cremated remains



A popular option for family members is to keep cremated remains of your loved one in a cemetery plot or columbarium niche. Wherein a cemetery plot is used, a box or urn include the ashes may be buried alongside bordering caskets.As this is not apparent from soil level, a headstone or marker may appear to sit at the “wrong” end of a tomb – as soon as in reality, it is surrounding to the cremated remains. Plenty of cemeteries also permit several urns come be hidden in a solitary plot which deserve to create much more confusion.

Urban park or garden cemeteries

This form of funeral ground was first developed together a equipment to deal with land shortages. The creation of garden cemeteries supposed that the deceased could be interred in ~ public park settings, while the community could still usage the area for recreation and also rest.Horticulturalists designed this parks so the headstones combined in through the landscape – upright headstones were mainly done away with in favor of smaller, level markers. This markers are usually put at the feet quite than the head area. Wherein a headstone is used, it is not always placed at the head of a grave as garden cemeteries perform not adhere come the symmetry of a traditional funeral ground.

Military graves


There are fairly a couple of public misconceptions about headstone placement because that those who have actually served in the military. As result of the proximity the grave markers in some military cemeteries, part falsely think that the human body is buried standing upright. The most likely explanation is the the remains have actually been cremated and also they are buried closely together.Veterans Affairs additionally provide cost-free grave mite in acknowledgment of military service. In most circumstances, Veterans are buried with a headstone put at the head end. However, headstones room also noted where the stays are not obtainable (e.g. Due to lacking bodies in action, interment at sea, etc.). These markers look like they sit atop a grave yet in reality, they serve as a memorial over vacant land. You deserve to identify a vacant grave as the wording “In memory Of” will be engraved top top the headstone.

Quirky Headstone location Traditions

Some cultures and customs plainly don’t align with the “headstone placed at the head” rule. Many do far with having any form of mite at all. These include:
Church ministers being hidden in a graveyard in the contrary direction come deceased parishioners. This was so that they could face their congregation during the resurrection.Modern herbal burials where grave areas are tracked by general practitioners rather 보다 physical markers.The Bo people of Sichuan, China hung coffins indigenous the cliffside of mountains and inside the caves. They believed that this would certainly prevent animals from poaching bodies while keeping land because that farming.Out of fear that the dead would rise up and also create havoc, some societies placed heavy tombstones on height of rock coffins. This was believed to avoid ghosts indigenous escaping.As graveyards hit volume in the nineteenth century, bodies to be commonly hidden en masse underneath public buildings and also churches.Buddhists in Tibet frequently practice sky burials. This entails leaving the deceased outside for consumption by birds and also other wildlife.Caviteño civilization in the Philippines will select a tree to be entombed within prior to death. Family members will certainly arrange for the tree to be hollowed out before burying your loved one within the tribe vertically.Many bodies of those who had actually taken their very own lives in England in between 1660 and 1800 were hidden face-down v a wooden stake propelled through them. This post-mortem punishment occurred as suicide was regarded as a grave sin.According to international law, a delivery captain has the right to command a interment service at sea. The deceased is commonly sewn right into a burlap bag (sometimes adorned with their country’s flag) prior to being dropped right into the water.

Headstone placement FAQs


A headstone is one upright monument generally made the granite the sits at the head that a grave. A gravestone or grave marker is a flat stone or bronze plaque the sits either slanted or level v the ground. In either case, both headstones and also gravestones offer as an identifying marker because that the deceased, each v an choice for personalization.
A cemetery is a place where the deceased are buried or laid come rest. They space often large expanses of floor that can be sectioned right into different locations (e.g. Through headstone style, ethnicity, spiritual affiliation, etc.).A graveyard is additionally a place where human being are buried following death. The difference between this and a cemetery is the they are situated within church grounds. This way that those interred room members that the religion and also the size of a graveyard is usually smaller sized than a publicly cemetery.
This Jewish custom is an act of respect and also honor because that the deceased and also is assumed to combine the bond come those who have actually passed. Other interpretations for placing a rock on a grave encompass keeping the person’s soul on earth and to prevent demons native entering.
Some people believe in the superstition that standing top top a tomb is ago luck. This is likely where the check out that doing for this reason is disrespectful and should it is in avoided. However, the narrow arrangement of part cemeteries will make this unavoidable. In this case, the is agree to walk over a grave, however do no stand or skinny on the headstone or cause any kind of damage to the marker.

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Alex is a freelance journalist and former mortuary attendant who cut his teeth in his family’s big funeral home business. In his spare time, Alex likes to dabble in photography and contributes countless of the images used in Funeral Circle’s content himself.