What's the Difference Between Headstones and Grave Markers?

What’s the Difference Between Headstones and Grave Markers?

August 12, 2022

The loss of a loved one is something that no one ever wants to deal with but that we will all sadly see at some time or other. That being said, it can be difficult to know the difference when it comes to grave markers and headstones. We explain the differences below so you can choose the best option for your loved one.

Grave Marker Vs Headstone

A grave marker is a flat marker, often bronze, that is level against the ground and is often used to mark the grave until a new marker or a headstone can be placed.

A headstone is a raised stone or monument that is upright and often made of materials like granite and quartz. These come in different shapes and sizes and have different decor to help reflect the life and personality of the person whose grave it is marking.

Simple markers are often flat, embossed metal markers laid directly at the head or foot of the grave. They are often not very large and may be upright on a small stake if they are not flat to the ground. It depends on the regulations of the graveyard.

Not all graves have headstones, but the vast majority do have grave markers. These are often removed when the headstone is laid, but they may stay if there is no other marker and if it is needed to keep the mark of the grave. Not all graves have intact grave markers; they are most often used as a temporary marker that helps the family identify where their loved one is buried. Markers help the cemetery keep track and the people laying the stone locate the proper area.

Gravestone vs Headstone vs Tombstone

Traditionally, a tombstone was a stone slab laid over the coffin after it was closed to help protect it and keep it closed. A gravestone is a flat slab of stone placed over a grave after it has been closed up. A headstone is a monument that is placed at the head of a grave and is often embellished with the name of the person who has passed, their birth and death dates, and any special epithets that the family wants to add.

These are all valid forms of the monument for those who have passed. If you find yourself in an older cemetery, you will likely see at least a few of these markers. The older the cemetery, the more likely you are to see things like tombstones. Most modern cemeteries do not have this type of monument and instead have headstones and upright monuments for the people that have passed.

No matter what sort of marker you decide to have placed if you are dealing with the death of someone you know, it is important that you choose a stone that is personal to them and that helps to commemorate their life and the legacy that they leave behind.

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