Western University students refurbishing tombstones

Archaeology students at Western University are refurbishing tombstones in a London, Ont. cemetery as part of a summer project.
As part of a summer course with Western University, archaeology students look at refurbishing tombstones at a London, Ont. cemetery. (Amanda Margison/CBC)

After nearly 150 years buried in a London, Ont. cemetery, one of the few known records of William and Alicia Taylor has been refurbished by archaeology students at Western University.

Kristen Nadal, Kate Schumacher and Andrew Fraser are refurbishing tombstones at Woodland Cemetery as part of their summer classes at Western. They unearth tombstones and look to repair them.

The sandstone tomb marking the burial place of William and Alicia Taylor was broken and buried in the earth.

"Tombstones sink, the Canadian winters are pretty harsh. They do end up sinking if they aren't on a proper foundation," Nadal explained. "We have to probe, make sure we're not hitting any edges, then we put down our shovels and dig very carefully."  

Carvings of the stone can be intricate and ornate. Fraser describes one as being designed in a "church window" pattern.

"It's a beautiful piece, it has very intricate carvings near the top, it almost looks like stained glass," Fraser said. "It's very unique."

Officials with the cemetery say they hope the students continue the project next year.