French cemeteries never seem to have much age. They contain plenty of graves and 'mausoleums' (sometimes inside a form of greenhouse), but they never seem to be much earlier than about 1800. I have no idea why that should be.
Most are surrounded by a high wall, over which private grave-tenders tend to throw anything unwanted. If you wish to spend an interesting half hour, walk around the outside of any country French graveyard wall; with a trowel.
I didn't make a practice of this, but on the few occasions I have, I've found everything from old bottles, glasses, urns, beaded garlands, crosses, photos of the deceased, etc; nothing was beyond the scope of the mourners as they tidied around the graves. Over the wall meant out of sight, out of mind.
My favourite discovery has to be this rather tatty Corinthian Capital. I think the sculptor must have become bored with his task as it's only half carved, and what is carved is very simplified.
Still, I took it home, cleaned it up, and turned it into a Lamp Base.
I does look vaguely like an archaeological find from ancient Greece, but in fact it's just a broken piece of French grave. Thank you; whoever abandoned it!
Bizarre. If, as you say, they are HIGH walls you'd need quite a bit of effort to fling something over them. Doesn't make sense. Anyway, once the corps is underground, the tombstone erected, what need is there for tidying other than, maybe, wilted flowers? I am baffled, Cro, not to say vaguely unsettled.ReplyDelete
How heavy is your "lamp"?
It probably weighs about 3 kilos; maybe more. In France EVERYONE visits their family graves before All Saints Day, to tidy-up, leave Chrysanthemums, and make it look as if they have 'cared'. It's at this time that stuff gets thrown away, and over the wall is easy.Delete
Thanks for the tip Crozier. When searching through the detritus behind the wall, did you ever find bones?ReplyDelete
I have checked out a few French country graveyards and you are right! It is indeed hard to find really old graves. Strange.
No; no bones; other than maybe from their lunchtime Lamb Chops.Delete
I wonder what happened to all those pre-1800 graves?
I was intrigued and consulted Monsieur Google about this question. This may explain the mystery perhaps?ReplyDelete
So, my suspicions were correct, but I wasn't sure why. Thank you. I suppose their logic was correct, and as they say, most cemeteries are now found 'out of town', away from the churches.Delete
It is as well that you have a nice proper cemetery nearby. Where will your body or ashes lie?ReplyDelete
If I die in France, I shall be buried in the village cemetery. If I die in England I shall be cremated, and possibly thrown to the winds on the beach.Delete
Napoleon what did it. He realised that all the French are a health risk and decided it was better the dead were buried as far from habitation as possible. Looks as if he was wrong in his assumption as it appears things haven't changed.ReplyDelete
Napoleon occasionally did things right. But after retreating from frozen Russia with his 500,000 dead soldiers (before they'd even started fighting), he needed plenty of cemeteries for them all.Delete
I think he did the cemetery thing a few years earlier. He was a nutter so god knows why. The French did learn something from the Napoleonic wars, they learnt how to surrender and become duplicitous. I suspect he may have been spared embarrassment by Global cooling.Delete
He's Macron's greatest Hero; goodness knows why. Maybe there's no-one else.Delete
It has always seemed strange to me how different countries deal with their dead.ReplyDelete
The French are very much like us in many ways. The major difference is their obsession about All Saints Day, and all those wretched Chrysanthemums.Delete
One man's detritus .......ReplyDelete
Absolutely. To this day I cannot understand why anyone would throw it away!Delete
One man's trash is another man's treasure.ReplyDelete
I once found a very old, child's, blue-painted, tin, watering can. It's a really beautiful 'antique', and I've treasured it ever since. I found it in a dustbin as I was putting my rubbish in.Delete
Well that's a handy way to find useful stuff. it doesn't happen here, if people want anything they have to steal it right off the grave and sadly, some do.ReplyDelete
Locally in my city, notices are sent to the families of the dead reminding them the lease is about to expire and if they wish the grave to remain they must renew the lease. if not, or if no one is left alive in the family, the deceased bones are removed along with any headstone and the grave site is reused. I personally think reusing grave sites is a much better idea than continually buying extra land and expanding the cemetery. We have a couple of cemeteries here that cover at least five acres each.ReplyDelete
I have the paperwork for a family Mausoleum that was bought 'in perpetuity'. I've never visited the cemetery to see if all is still there; I suppose I should. No doubt I could be interred there myself.Delete
My folks would have shuddered at the thought of bringing any thing home from the cemetery. It was considered bad luck.ReplyDelete