The Association for Gravestone Studies in partnership with the Society for Historical Archaeology is planning a four-day study tour of the cemeteries of Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico is a diverse island with a rich history. Spanish colonization of the island dates back to 1493 when the second voyage of Christopher Columbus landed on the Western shore near present-day Aguada. Spanish influence would continue for the next 400 years and leave a lasting impression in the architecture, culture, landscape and history.
Puerto Rican cemeteries are a rich and untapped resource. They are based on the Campo Santo style of cloistered or walled cemeteries of Italy, Spain and Southern Europe. They mainly date from the nineteenth century and retain common design elements of walled enclosures, entrance gates, chapels, plantings and main walkways with lateral paths that divide the cemetery into quadrants. The monuments are a panoply of styles reflecting the social and economic background of the deceased. Long rows of communal crypts, concrete crosses, marble monuments and large above ground pantéons and family mausoleums can all be found in Puerto Rico.