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What's in a name?

We name things to help us organize, categorize, and understand the world around us. To help you understand the world of Oakland Cemetery, we have created a visual glossary of common cemetery terms.
Feel free to email us if you have further questions or if you feel we missed something.
christofuv blanket
Blanket planting: group of plantings filling the inside of a cradle grave (photo on Instagram by christofuv)
stacyreno box tomb
Box tomb: a structure resembling a rectangular box, made from stone with a ledger/tablature stone on top
Box tombs are placed over a grave and are typically hollow. (photo on Instagram by stacyreno)
Ciborium: a type of shrine to display objects, usually visible through pointed arches
occupymyfamily columbarium
Columbarium: a place for the interment of urns containing cremains
Technically, Oakland does not have columbariums. However, a past master plan suggested turning the two Victorian comfort stations- bathrooms- into columbariums. (photo on Instagram by occupymyfamily)
mima_kirigoe coping
Coping: a stone or concrete wall around an entire grave lot; decorative styles vary (photo on Instagram by mima_kirigore)
frankgrogers cradle
Cradle: is a stone or concrete border outlining a single grave space; decorative styles vary (photo on Instagram by frankgrogers)
evoleyejeneye family plot
Family plot marker: usually this is larger than the individual grave markers on the lot and often it has only last name(s) carved (photo on Instagram by evoleyejeneye)
Flat marker: marker that is flush with the ground; most common at Oakland
Footstone: usually a small simple arched or squared tablet with only initials or sometimes a first name at the bottom,or foot, of a grave
It usually accompanies a full-size marker, but sometimes there will be a footstone only.
jeffersonross tombstone
Headstone: generic term for an object used to demarcate a grave
These objects are typically inscribed with vital information of the deceased. (photo on Instagram by jeffersonross)
atl321 ledger
Ledger stone/ tablature: a flat stone that covers the entire grave space (photo on Instagram by atl321)
Marker: See Headstone.
megawixa mausoleum
Mausoleum: a small building inside of which are sealed-off individual shelves on which caskets are placed
A mausoleum is different from a vault because you can enter and walk around inside a mausoleum, you can’t enter a vault. (photo on Instagram by megawixa)
dmull85 monument
Monument: a general term that can describe markers that do not fit into other categories
Usually a monument is larger or more complex than ordinary tablets or other markers and may include sculptures (photo on Instagram by amull85)
chadelkins obelisk
Obelisk: a four-sided stone shaft with a pyramid shaped point at the top
Obelisks range from a few feet high to several stories high. (photo on Instagram by chadelkins)
samrturnage pillow
Pillow: these markers are carved to look like pillows and can sit on a simple base or sometimes at the head of a tablature (photo on Instagram by samrturnage)
Sarcophagus: In Oakland, it refers to a box tomb but usually sits atop a more elaborate base and may be surrounded by columns and even have a slab “shelter” overhead.
frankgrogers scroll
Scroll face: similar to a slant face markers but instead of just a flat surface, it has a scroll design or a craved scroll on which the information is inscribed, and its face sometimes curves in/out like an unrolled piece of paper (photo on Instagram by frankgrogers)
Sexton:  usually refers to the keeper of a churchyard, but in Oakland’s case it refers to the city of Atlanta employee, Sam Reed. He maintains the public areas of the cemetery, arranges burials, keeps the burial records, manages the use of the cemetery for film crews and the like, and coordinates the sale of available lots.
Slant face: a general term that applies to markers with an angled face; the degree of the angle varies from very slight to almost vertical
guzziknight tablet-h
Tablet-horizontal:  an upright marker that is more horizontal than vertical, typically more modern (1940s and newer) and thicker (photo on Instagram by guzziknight)
mima_kirigoe tablet-v
Tablet-vertical: a single upright gravemarker; various styles in this type both simple and ornate; could also be set on or in a base (photo on Instagram by mima_kirigoe)
Tombstone: See Headstone
Urn/vase/planter: these come in various shapes and sizes, with or without handles and with or without plants in them; often they are attached to markers (photo on Instagram by mima_kirigoe)
Vault: an above ground tomb with shelves on which caskets are placed

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