Public Engagement through Burial Landscapes: Cupids and Ferryland, Newfoundland

Robyn Sarah Lacy


British occupation of Newfoundland dates to the early 1600s with the founding of settlements such as Cupids and Ferryland. While records of deaths exist at both colonies, their seventeenth-century burial grounds have not been located. Historic burial grounds in Newfoundland come with certain characteristic features: surviving gravestones in a rocky landscape, views of the ocean, and often a large cross on top of a hill. Though not visible at the sites in question, these ‘lost’ burial landscapes can be employed as an engagement tool by archaeologists. By exploring a ‘lost’ burial landscape with visitors, a dialogue is opened to speculate where the settlers were buried and why. While indirect, discussing these themes with visitors provokes thought on historic vs. modern burial practices and acknowledges the seventeenth-century dead within the context of the modern landscape. This article aims to explore the use of burial landscapes to engage visitors in a conversation about early colonial history, but also about mortality in both historic and modern contexts.


burial ground; engagement; intangible; landscape; Newfoundland

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Copyright (c) 2018 Robyn Sarah Lacy

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ISSN: 2171-6315

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