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Placing Geocaches In Cemetaries

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I've noticed some caches that were placed in or near cemetaries. What is the general thinking on this? Would a cemetary be considered an 'archeological site'?


I think caches and cemetaries can coexist, IF the cache is done well, and isn't TOO hard to find (you don't want to encourage any vandalism, damage or....ahem...'digging'...)

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Yes, caches and cemeteries can co-exist. Most cemeteries allow all the activities that geocaching is and a few that it isn't.


Cemeteries can be both archaeological and historic sites, but more likely historic. The two are related but consider. History is our direct history that of our forefathers, while archaeology is the history of our forbearers with a large broad fuzzy line separating the two.

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I did one near an old graveyard the NY Finger Lakes this past weekend. Though the cache needed maintenance, the area was kept in excellent shape for a backwoods cemetery. I spent a bit of time reading gravestones, dating back to the very early 1800's. One in particular was of an 8 year-old girl who died in 1808. You wonder what she was like, why she died, what her family was like, and all the other thoughts a parent would have, especially at the loss of a child so young.


Graveyards should not be off-limits places. A geocache brought me to a place that I would not have known existed. And for a brief few moments, someone thought about the life of a little girl who died a long time ago. I'd be pleased to think that someday, someone would stop by and contemplate my life...

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For a most respectful treatment of cemetery caches please look up the Indiana Spirit Quest series. We have a distinctive set of rules for placement and the purpose is to honor our veterens and pioneer gravesites. So far ISQ's have been placed in 52 0f 92 xounties in Indiana, and at last count there were over 400.


I agree, one of my favorite caches while traveling in Indy was an ISQ.

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I feel they can co-exist as long as the hiders & seekers maintain the dignity & respect diserved. I've considered a multi that involves a couple cemetaries as a part of a historical tour of the area. However if any "issues" arose over this practice I could also forsee a bunch of negative publicity for the caching community. Thus far I've held it in the idea stage.

Go forth with this caution in mind.


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While I'm in favor of them, I don't think they are all OK. I'm not crazy about most caches in active cemeteries. I found one once that was in a bush right between the headstones of two fairly recent burials. I really didn't get the point of that, other than a cache for the sake of placing a cache. If they are in an active cemetery they should be hidden in the far reaches where searchers are unlikely to encounter mourners.


Even before I started geocaching, I frequently visited old cemeteries. You can learn a lot about our forefathers by visiting these places. Their attitude towards death, their religion, their art, their mortality rates and more.


In one cemetery I found a family section and among the graves of the parents, grandparents and children was the grave of a "negro slave". Her headstone had her name on it. Here was a slave that was a such a beloved member of the family, she was buried alongside them. Unusual, but a peek into the life of an early 19th century family.


It was also a cache in a cemetery that allowed me to find this place and spend some time paying my respects to some true heros.


"Most people think of cemeteries as scary, spooky places you want to avoid. But we like to think of them as places where you can go to learn more about history. “Cemeteries are interesting. They're worth visiting and they're worth studying. If we take the time to listen to what the stories might tell us, we have a lot to learn.” -Archaeologist Richard Veit

I agree with Dr. Veit. Cemeteries are fascinating places and I always enjoy discovering new ones. If its a geocache that enables me to do so I think that's just dandy.

Edited by briansnat
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Done properly, I think they can be very appropriate ... particularly if the cemetary is a "historical" location or has individuals buried there that are of historical significance. There are a couple locally that I like, one takes you to the gravestone of a local historical figure (virtual part of a multi), one that is an offset cache which takes you to the grave of the individual who was one of the first documented cases of what is believed to be "spontaneous combustion", and another which is at a civil war freed slave memorial cemetary in the middle of a cornfield (an otherwise "lost" location which had it not been for geocaching, I would have never known to visit).


All have the tidbits of information surrounding the reasoning for placing the cache and are quite fascinating to learn about in the process. The cache is just a "bonus".

Edited by Lasagna
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I placed a cache in an historic cemetery (1800's). However, out of respect and to discourage vandalism, it is a multi where you have to get the dates from a VERY interesting Woodsman of the World headstone, and find the cache container about 0.1 miles away.


I also made it a members-only cache (my only one) to further try to avoid problems.

Edited by samirsky
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This past weekend I went by several cemetaries looking for civil war veterans graves. It's a great time to visit as many of the smaller country ones have been cleaned and new flowers placed. Only one had a cache nearby. I've met some nice folks while looking at headstones, several have turned out to be direct descendants of those buried there and were happy to share stories.


It's like any other cache, you can choose to do them or not after reading the description.

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The Indiana Spirit Quest series is top notch in my opinion. Like Metaphor said, cemetery caches, if done like the ISQ, allow cachers to visit a place and pay honor and respect to those people who have passed on before us. Whether miliatry veterans or local townspeople, these people laid the foundation for our communities today and it is nice to contemplate their lives be it ever so brief. The ISQ caches emphasize the history on the cache page and are placed well away from the graves. All in all, they are respectfully done. Several cachers are attempting to duplicate the ISQ with a Kentucky Spirit Quest series.

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I am currently waiting on permission to place a cache where my father is buried. This cemetary has a gazabo in it and that is where the cache will be placed, and this cemetary is out in the middle of nowhere in the country. My job takes all over and I have found some cemetaries that really could use a cache with the note that says "if you look ofr this cache, please take a moment to do a little maintence". A lot of these cemetaries have been let go and need some help. So of the stones go back as far as 1890, and would be a shame to let them just disappear in the weeds. Just my thoughts

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I LOVE cemetary caches. Visiting a cemetary is like reading an excellent historic novel. I think it is a great way to show respect to the parted. If they weren't meant to be visited, they'd be locked up.


That said, I wouldn't want to bring the family dog there out of respect for the families of the deceased, and the cache should be placed out of bounds of the cemetery so there is no pulling, stomping on, or prodding around flowers, graves and such.


We've done cemetary caches and loved them, we have a couple of our own, and find neat, neat information every time we do one.


By the way, check out this fella's name at one of our cemetery caches:



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Personally...I'm not a big fan of cemetary caches.


I found one...and don't really want to have to re-live that experience again. To go to a place where people are mourning, crying, etc, for their recently departed, and play any sort of a 'game' in the same location is just a bad idea.

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I like cemetary caches, if properly done. (Not near any actual graves, preferably in a non-active graveyard, etc.) In fact, I've hidden one myself: GCPQNC


It seems to be pretty popular, and I'm starting to think that placing a cache there and having people visit has improved the condition of the site considerably.


Before I placed the cache, the cemetary was almost totally abandoned. The town dpw came and mowed every 4 or 5 years (maybe) I found out about it by helping a local Scout on his Eagle project (cleaning up his and several other small abandoned sites) I placed a cache there slightly after this. Now that people are visiting, the site has been mowed twice already this year. Two graves from Revolutionary soldiers have also now been marked. It've really been very pleasing to see this area, so long left to decay, be recognized as a spot worth saving, due, at least I hope in part, to my cache. (Though I'm sure that's not the whole story.)


Some pictures taken by a cacher recently visiting the site:





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I don't have any problem with caches in cemetaries. We have always viewed cemetaries as not just the resting place for loved ones, but a place to enjoy taking evening strolls through the park, letting the kids read and making rubbings of the stones. As a child we even played ghost in the graveyard in a real graveyard which was across the street from my parent's home, full of not just tombstones but gazebos, old cannons, weeping willows and cool old statutes. And it still isn't uncommon for picnics to occur in cemetaries where families go to care for their family gravesites on weekends. As for geocaching, now my kids can look for a cache while I am doing genealogy and hunting for my ancestors' gravesites....

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:laughing: I for one, enjoy cemetery caches and have found about 20 of them here in Wisconsin. Some have been virtual only, some have been the first stage of a multi where you're required to read dates of certain headstones and use those numbers for coordinates to the next stage. Some have had actual hides in the cemertery but usually never near an actual grave.


Oddly enough I have never run into a mourners. Perhaps because most (though not all) of these cemetaries are no longer active. However, they have all had some great history behind them. I also take my geo-dog and she has never once p**d on a grave or been disrepesctful in any way. I would agree that the local reviewer should make sure everything has been done to show proper respect before approving the cache.

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Cemetery caches are my very favorite but I agree they should be carefully done with good clues.........no probing around. Most I have found have been in trees and bushes on the perimeter. I have spent hours reading and meditating and believe those that rest there would be pleased.......I know I would.

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cemetary caches are the best i never pass up one its neat to look around at the headstones and peice togeather the storys of the people there , and there quite fun in the middle of the night . Also when i hit an old cemetary thats old and over grown i always pick out a gravesite and clean away the weeds and what not figuring that some of them old graves have no one to take care of them . and there so spooky at night yeah :laughing:

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I enjoy the cemetary caches because I always seem to learn something. Example: I was looking for a cemetary cache last Sunday and discovered the cache's name referred to a child who was murdered by her parents when she was only a couple of years old. Her name was Mary Magdalene Pitts, and her murder caught the nation's attention in the early 1920s. It is because of this case that we have many of the child abuse laws that are now on the books.


I think the key to cemetary caches (and any other cache for that matter) is respect of the surroundings. Honoring the dead can come in many forms.

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I really enjoy the cemetary caches in fact I tend to hide a lot of my caches in them. I feel cemetarys are a scary place for some people, so setting a cache in them gets people used to being in there. Iif hidden tastefully then there should be no problem. Some folk may say that cematarys are not a place for games, but I fell most people that are in them geocaching are very mindfull of the surroundings and some may actually read the tomb stones. I like to hide them in trees or in the back out of the way.


keep on caching :anitongue:

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