The wide range of rock types used for gravestones means that cemeteries can be geological treasure-troves. For geologists – whether amateur, student or professional – almost any urban cemetery provides a valuable opportunity to carry out scientific field work at leisure, right on the doorstep, and at no cost.
The geological trails in the six Oxford cemeteries described in The Geology of Oxford Gravestones highlight the wide variety of rock types and geological features that can be seen in graveyards throughout Britain – and provide an introduction to geology that anyone can enjoy.
But that's not all. Cemeteries not only provide a peaceful place to commemorate the dead, walk, contemplate and enjoy a packed lunch away from busy city roads. They can also serve as refuges for insects, wildlife, lichens and flowering plants, offering opportunities to study many aspects of environmental science. They are wonderful repositories for the study of local history and art too.
The six cemeteries featured in this book – Holywell, St Sepulchre's, Headington Municipal Cemetery and the churchyards of St Thomas the Martyr, St Andrew's, Headington and SS Mary and John – provide a unique insight into the people who lived and worked in the Oxford area from the 17th century to modern times. Whether this book inspires you to take up the study of geology or not, one thing is certain. You'll never look at cemeteries in the same way again.
The Geology of Oxford Gravestones is published by Geologica Press ISBN 978191058531. The book has 140 pages, including a glossary and index, 7 maps, geological column and 389 colour photographs.