What's the Purpose of a Headstone?

What’s the Purpose of a Headstone?

July 7, 2021

Deciding how to honor the legacy and memory of a loved one who has passed away can be a big decision to make during a difficult time. The seemingly endless options for grave markers can be overwhelming, so let’s examine why people put stones on graves.

Purpose of a grave marker

A grave marker identifies the person who is buried in a specific graveyard plot. Even though there are several types of grave markers, they all usually include details about the deceased, such as their name, birth and death dates. Grave markers may also provide more information about the person’s life or perhaps a meaningful quote or phrase. There are many ways to honor someone who has passed away, so there are no specific guidelines that must be followed. After all, this person’s loved ones will probably know the best way to commemorate their life.


Headstones are the most commonly used grave markers. Headstones are upright stone slabs that typically consist of granite or marble. Ornamental details can vary widely within headstones, so there are few other defining characteristics.

It’s important to keep in mind that every cemetery will have its own rules and requirements which may extend to headstones. Prior to purchasing any grave marker, you should verify that it will be allowed in the cemetery of your choice. However, cemeteries must also allow you to use a product purchased by another vendor, so you should be fully aware of your rights before making any commitments.


A memorial is an item or structure that serves as a reminder of someone who has passed away. There’s no restriction on how you choose to honor a loved one, but there are several common ideas for memorials, such as planting a tree or installing a bench. Memorials can also be less tangible. You may choose to remember the deceased by releasing birds or butterflies. Alternatively, you could establish a memorial fund or scholarship in their memory to honor them with a charitable contribution. Your loved one’s passions and interests may also provide inspiration for more specific memorial ideas.


Similar to the other types of grave markers, monuments come in all shapes and sizes. They could be saints, angels or animals who watch over the deceased, or they could be large obelisks that stand out. Sandstone and slate were once popular materials for monuments, but they are too susceptible to erosion for modern monuments. Cemeteries will often have specific requirements for monuments, such as height restrictions, so make sure to ask about their rules if you’re thinking about honoring your loved one with a monument.

Now that you know why rocks are put on graves, you may understand why procuring a memorial marker is often an important step in making funeral arrangements. Phillipsburg Memorial Company can help you find the headstone that you’re most comfortable with. Get in touch with us today to learn more about the extensive range of memorial options we offer, including a wide variety of stones and markers.

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