Better off dead

Imagine that you are dead and your loved ones are preparing to bury you in the ground. What do you think those surviving you will put in your grave with you? How will they express who you are and their relationships to you in material items. Think about your family and your friends, both your old friends and your college friends.

Items such as these are termed “grave goods” and archaeologists can learn a lot about a culture based on the kinds of grave goods they provide to their dead. How might future archaeologists interpret the items you’ve chosen to be buried with?

Leave a thoughtful response in the comments section below. The due date is Thursday, March 7 at noon.


About Matt Thompson

Matt Thompson is a project cataloger at The Mariners' Museum library. He has a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and was formerly a professor at ODU. You can find him on Twitter @m4ttTh0mps0n.
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76 Responses to Better off dead

  1. Sabrina Faulkner says:

    Well imagining that I am dead is not one of my usual past times, but in light of the assingment I did some thinking. I think that I would be burried with the ring I always wear that I got from my boyfriend, my teddy bear and I’m not sure what else. To be honest, if any of my friends were to put aything to be burried with me it would probably be some bottle of alcohol, and my boyfriend would think it would be funny to put my cell phone wtih me because he thinks I’m overly attached. Maybe some pictures. It’s a hard thing to think about, I’m not really one to be super materialistic.
    I think if I was to be burried with the items I previously mentioned, they would think I was really strange. I mean, a teddy bear and alcohol? Talk about mixed up. In all seriousness, though, they would probably interpret the items as things that were important to me and as signs of what culture was like in 2013. It wouldn’t me much, and I’d probably look a little on the poor side (but what college kid isn’t?), but it would be a look back at my life. I don’t think the items I’ve chosen would show any significance about the time period, though. So there wouldn’t be much significance to looking at my old grave.

    • Matt O'Brien says:

      I don’t think ,many people give to much a thought about this kind of thing.It’s interesting to think about though. I’ve always leaned towards being cremated but this way you could physically leave your mark at your burial site. I’m assuming this isn’t anytime in the near future, hopefully some things will have changed when this time comes. There are a few things to come in mind presently. The first would be St. Christopher’s medal. It meant a lot to me as a kid because my grandfather gave it to me. I wore it on my familys trip across the U.S. I’ve kept it with me ever since. I think I’d get buried with a baseball as well. It’s always been my favorite sport. I have a lot in my room all of different signifagance. I think the rest is really up in the air. I think it also depends who is still around when you get buried. Anything else many others. would probably important pictures or memories. Thats difficult to imagine.

      With all that being said, from a historical perspective my grave wouldn’t be all that special. The baseball might be cool depending on how old it was. Most of my items are simple but with some deep meaning to a select few. It would be really cool for my family, not many others. I could be wrong though. Maybe as time passes it will mean something. It’s an interesting thing to think about, curious since you really don’t have control.

  2. Zach Christman says:

    To be honest, I have never thought about what I will be buried with. But, these “grave goods” would be a good way to show future generations what my life consisted of. I am planning on getting married (not anytime soon) so my wedding ring will be buried with me. This would show that I was a loving and faithful husband and father. In regards to other personal items, I am not too sure what will I be buried with. Some tombs and graves have been found with an excess supply of gold and other income driven items. Personally, I think items show cockiness and individualism. Just think about, they are dead… why do you need to be buried with hundreds of thousands dollars’ worth of gold and jewelry with them. Sure, they experienced great wealth and power in their life but it will not help in the next life. Therefore, I plan on going with a simpler approach only being buried with things that have true meaning to me that I would want in the next life such as my wedding ring or something in relation with my parents, sisters, or future children. With this approach, future archaeologists will probably not learn much what life was like in general during this time but more of what was important to me.

  3. ashleighvanstraten says:

    What an interesting thing to consider! Never have given much thought to this before. However, I believe that if I was ever to be un-buried, I would not be considered to be of a high social status to archaeologists. Since I don’t have too many prized possessions in life, I believe that my friends and loved ones would not have me buried in, or with anything extravagant. At the most, I think that I would be buried with the bare minimum; the ring my boyfriend gave and my favorite flowers, stargazer lilies by my family and friends. I am not a materialistic person, so I think that if I were ever to un-buried, they would consider me as un-important person or someone who was of unsubstantial social class ranking. They could possibly interpret these goods that I was a person who did not take much interest in materialistic goods or was not of a high social standing.

  4. Owen Branigan says:

    Very interesting thing to comment on. For me i dont really want to be buried with anything. I am saying this not to be “that guy” that just wants to be different. its just interesting how this question is asked at a time when I am really trying to look deeper into my character and see just how much I value my materialistic things here on earth. As a christian I am trying through prayer and time in the bible, to work on being less dependant on enjoying life through short term fulfillment with material items. So in conclusion, nothing, because my prizes are waiting for me in heaven.
    Colossians 3:24

  5. Ashley Moye says:

    Honestly, I’m not sure. I suppose the jewelry that people have given me that have sentimental value, like the necklace my boyfriend gave me. If my dog, who is more like my child, had passed away previously, I would want to be buried with his remains. Maybe some pictures of loved ones. Overall, I can’t think of many materialistic items that I would want in my grave, and I hope my loved ones would know that. I’d rather my loved ones wear/use my belongings in order to keep my memory alive. Although, if I had little in my grave except pictures and dog ashes, future archaeologists wouldn’t have much to study. From the pictures, they could deduce fashion trends of the time, possibly see the area I lived in or my general lack of money. Overall, I would hope the archaeologists would see that though I didn’t have a lot of things, I preferred to cherish the relationships I had with a small group of loved ones.

  6. Ryan Barbrey says:

    This is a tough one because I have never sat down and thought about what I should or would want to be buried with. One thing that many people tend to be buried with is the wedding ring. I am getting married next year to a woman I met three years ago here in Virginia but her and her family currently live in Thailand, She will be coming here to get married and live our lives so with all the work and time we have put into our relationship before we are even married I definitely want to be buried with the ring. Other than that there are no material goods I would want to be buried with except maybe a picture of my fiance and I (and our eventual kids). This is so future archaeologists would be able to see what we looked like and how we dressed at the time we were alive. Hopefully they will also be able to see, with my lack of “grave goods” that material things were nowhere near as important to me as my family and those I loved.

  7. Alana Weldon says:

    At first this question seemed simple, just to think of some things that were important to me and throw them in the grave. But in actuality it was kind of tough to think about what I would want buried with me and what I would want me family to keep as a reminder that I’m still with them. To be buried with me I’d probably want something from my parents, siblings and grandparents. Maybe a ring of my mothers and a necklace of my sisters. I wouldn’t really want anything that was mine to be buried with me because I’d want my mother to have that as something to keep with her to reassure her that I haven’t gone anywhere, and that I’m always with her. I may want to be buried with a picture of myself and my family as recent to right before my death, and maybe a younger picture, so that archaeologist could see what I really looked like rather than the potentially decayed body. Maybe something to indicate what the culture was like when I was alive. Other than that I can’t really think of anything else I would want to be buried with me.

  8. William Hayes says:

    I think if i died to today and the things that would be placed in my casket to reflect who I was as a person. The first thing I could think of is maybe old sports jerseys a long with some of my favorite video games. This would give anthropologist an idea of what my hobbies were. Another thing would possibly be like old pictures of friends and family. Also I can think of some of my favorite shoes so that the future anthropologist an idea of some of today’s fashion. A few other personal things i could see being buried with me for future anthropologist to see. That’s basically what i can think of being placed in my casket if I died today.

  9. I’ve always been more of a “you can’t take it with you” person as far as belongings/money go. If I had to choose, I’d like my toy bear and blanket, which have some old and happy memories attached, and a Bible, since it seems traditional for many Christians to be buried with their Bibles… and possibly one of my favorite crystals from my collection, but I’d probably rather leave those available for others to use/admire.

  10. Alana Weldon says:

    If i were to imagine that I was dead, there are a few items that I have that come to mind that would make sense to be buried with me. First off, I would want to have the ring my mother passed on to me from her mother. This will symbolize the strong bond between my mother and I and my strong family orientation. I would also want to have the ring and necklace that my boyfriend gave to me. To only symbolize that he was the last person I loved before I died, but to also show that I was in a committed and faithful relationship. This may show archaeologist the type of person that I was when I was alive. I would also want pictures of me and my friends to show how much they meant to me during my life and that I wanted to take them with me when I passed. I would also want my bible and something that all of my family and friends may agree upon that symbolizes me as a whole. The only thing that I can think of would be a picture of my smiling. I am a generally happy person, and I love to make others laugh and to make them happy as well. I tend to put those that I care for before me, so I would hope that a smile will show that I am a kind and generous person that I was when I was alive. I would hope that archeologist may find my grave goods and piece all of those things together. Also to have the picture so that they know exactly what I looked like and not a guess based on my bone structure. In conclusion, I’d just want a piece from the people that mean most to me to be buried with, as well a representation of my religion (the bible) and pictures to represent my life and who I was to tie together everything that I loved and believed in while on earth.

  11. Kylie Beauchamp says:

    I have never thought about what my family and friends would leave in my grave after I had died but I would hope they would leave a few thoughtful items with me. I don’t think I would want many material items to be buried with me, I would rather those type things be enjoyed by my family after I was gone. Things like a wedding ring I would want to leave to a daughter or granddaughter or niece. I would want flowers or roses to be thrown in there with me because I like to garden but I don’t think I really would want too much stuff to be put in there with me after I died. Pictures would also be things that I would think my family and friends would leave with me to remember the good times we’d had. If anthropologists studied my grave in the future, I do not think it would give them much insight into our culture. Maybe what clothes I would be wearing could help indicate the times in which we lived but other than that I don’t think they would be able to figure much else out.

  12. Christopher Bailey says:

    I am aware that throughout history some have been buried with items of relevance to their lives, but have never given the practice any consideration in a personal sense.
    For me, a wedding ring and perhaps articles of clothing, or developmental trinkets from the lives of my children would be included to signify to an anthropologist that I was a family man and committed to my family through the evolving stages of their lives.
    To give some clue to how I had lived the majority of my adult life and considering my military service, it would be appropriate to have some nautical artifacts, and to have various charts of the world to signify the amount of travel I have completed.
    A motorcycle glove, a snorkel, a page or two from a dive log, and a running-shoe lace would be left to give a clue to my sense of adventure.
    I would also include an intentionally damaged cellphone, to signal my distaste for this intrusive invention.

  13. Antasia Ward says:

    My family would adorn me with all the jewelery that I own even though I rarely wear it now. My birthstone earrings would leave a hint that I was born in February which would be interesting to an anthropologist who happen to stumble upon my grave.I would hope that my family would put my favorite pair of pumps in the casket with me. I would also like a collection of pictures and knick knacks from over the years to be included.

  14. Dustin R. Robbins says:

    “Grave goods” to me are a way of mourning the death of an individual while forming an everlasting bond through the items buried with the deceased.

    If I were to die today, I would hope my family and friends would feel comfortable placing anything in my grave that they felt gave us a connection. At this point in my life there wouldn’t be too much to put in except maybe some pictures and a few items from sports I played in the past. My set of keys to my favorite boat would also be included and maybe a baseball cap.

    If it were in the future, I would hope my family would place things in my casket that showed the evolution as our life as a family; as well as a wedding ring to show the significance of my wife to my past and present.

    I am not very materialistic and would not like to be buried with some/any of my own things. I would rather them be left behind in remembrance of me. The fact that I have family or friends to remember me is enough for me. If dug up in the future, I would expect archaeologists to see me as a simple family man who spent most of his time outdoors.

  15. Anthony Portacio says:

    I were to be buried, I would not have a whole lot of possessions of my own for others to put in my grave since I don’t own a lot of material possessions such as jewelry. Therefore, I don’t think that archeologist may think that I was of high social standing or royalty. My family would probably bury me with rosary beads since they are Catholic so archeologist would have an idea of what my religion may be. I think my friends would inscribe lyrics from songs by bands like the Grateful Dead on my coffin which may give insight that music was a big part of my life and my culture. My friends may even throw all of my concert tickets from the hundreds of shows I have been to in my coffin as well. They would also paint my coffin with a lot of art. For the most part I think that archeologist would come to the conclusion that I was from a culture that lived a simple life, who did not stress the importance of material wealth, and instead enjoyed music and the arts.

  16. Justina Williams says:

    I believe my loved ones would bury me with special pieces of jewelry I’ve collected over my lifetime. I personally would like the people closest to me to write a note about how I influenced their lives. Those notes alone would say a lot about the type of person I was and the life I lived. As long as someone can read the notes, archaeologists won’t have to interpret much about me. It will all be on paper.

  17. Chase Winans says:

    Honestly I dont really know what those surviving me would put in my grave. If i had to guess I would say maybe my cleats from all the sports I play. I’m sure someone would include a Frisbee representing Ultimate Frisbee which happens to be my favorite activity. Some of my other friends might include my laptop or my mouse which I use to play online games with them. As far as burying with wealth, I would not have that luxury (pun intended). Although in all honesty I would prefer to be cremated.

  18. Samara Alhani says:

    First and foremost, I would hope that my mother would never have to endure the hardship of burying any of her children, however I will respond to the questions. I’ve never contemplated whether or not I would be buried with “grave goods” but if I had to guess I’m almost positive that my mother would include an item from my childhood such as a stuffed animal or baby blanket which both have significant meaning and value to her. Among other goods would probably include some sort of religious item or piece of jewelry (perhaps a wedding ring). These goods would most likely be my mother’s way of keeping God/higher power close, even in the after life (or alternate universe lol). My friends would most likely include plenty of flowers and photographs of fun times we’ve shared. I personally would not want to be buried with anything and I’m sure I most likely won’t, but for the sake of this exercise I tried my best!

  19. Keenan Falls says:

    If it were up to my loved ones who’ve survived me I would guess they’d put things that held prominence in my life, such as a soccer ball or my favorite book. Maybe a close friend would put an object relating to a common bond we shared. I think future archaeologists would interpret what I was buried with as symbols for things that I valued, or had enough meaning to surface/be discussed upon my death. However, I would rather have my ashes burned and blown amid the breeze between the oceans and mountains.

  20. Nick Leider says:

    Although I hope it is not for a very long time, when I pass away I want to be buried with a set of rosary beads, some pictures of my family and loved ones, and in a nice expensive suit. I would imagine close friends would add things to my grave, like pictures or small items that they will remember me by. Archeologists will in the future could uncover my grave, and determine that I was catholic by the rosary beads. Also, if they know anything about today’s suits, they will know that I was wealthy (even though I’m not…). Having said all of this, I still think I would rather be cremated.

  21. Parisa Fard says:

    Never thought about this. I never have expected to be buried with anything. However, thinking about it I guess my parents would put my favorite blanket and flowers in there with me. My friends and family would probably throw some pictures in there with me, to cherish old and fun times. I would imagine that my boyfriend would bury me with perhaps the CD’s of music we listen to together, or the jewelry he has gotten me and some pictures. Materialistic things won’t mean much to me in my grave. My family and friends would instead probably put some of my favorite quotes and sayings with me.

  22. Joe Perea says:

    I would be buried underground with the things most valuable to me. I’ll be buried in a Redskins jersey so i can support my favorite team from the grave. Also, pictures of my family and friends would look nice inside my tomb. I do not plan on dying anytime soon so hopefully some of the defining moment in my life will influence the material goods i would like to be buried with. If i was buried with nothing but the clothes i wear to my grave I would be satisfied because I don’t think material goods would follow me to the afterlife.

  23. Jon Faulkner says:

    I don’t think there would be anything other than my dress military uniform. If anything I would get a pair of gloves, because you can always use gloves, and possibly coins from my friends that we got together. Other than that I would be buried in Arlington so not much really going on there.

  24. Casey Leonard says:

    In my family burying significant objects with our loved ones is something we’ve been doing since my grandmother’s funeral; at least the first one I remember. In my grandfather’s casket, we buried with him a New York Yankee’s Hat, a Miller Lite, and a hand crafted angel from my three sisters and I. Dying is the inevitable for humans and when I pass I hope my loved ones bury with me extraordinary items that reflect who I was. I could imagine that if I were to die today my friends and family would bury with me, the rosary that my grandmother made me, a giraffe figurine, a can of Pepsi, a picture of my family and cats, an old soccer jersey, my graduation tassel, a bible, and a forget-me-not flower. Being though once I die none of these items will have purpose for me, they will serve a sentimental purpose for my friends and family, which would help me rest in peace.

  25. Mary Parsons says:

    I would be buried with my favorite flag silk since color guard and marching band have always been huge parts of my life and are things that I will always love to do. Also, most of my friends were made through those activities. I know that my friends and family would bury me with pictures of some of my favorite memories with them, because the best parts of my life have been with them. My mother would definitely make sure that I was buried in the most stylish outfit she could find, because she knows how obsessed I am with fashion. The last thing that I would be buried with would be a notebook that contains things that I have written as I have always expressed myself best through my writing. These things should give future archaeologists great insight into my life and preserve my legacy. Since I hope to have many years of life left ahead of me that will be filled with new adventures, I cannot even begin to predict the rest of the things that would be buried with me upon my death.

  26. Sean Bujno says:

    “Death is only the beginning” The Mummy. What do you think those surviving you will put in your grave with you? Stunt kite, starwars, crispy kreme, xbox with MW3, mariaclara, jimmy johns, bible, All coast to coast am shows and dr. Michael savage books, Archer dvd collection, Aqua teen hunger force collection, floaties, coffee and hazelnut coffee mate, my macbook pro, Shampoo, conditioner, caffeine soap from, vitamin C, smart water because it has no fluoride, snoopy the cat, chapstick, all my military medals and military honors I earned, hand sanitizer, scion tc emblem from my car, and black socks.
    Will they express who you are and their relationships to you in material items. Of course they will. All these items had an importance in my life and items such as these can tell a lot about a person, their attitudes, ideas, and possibly their passions and where time was spent.
    How might future archaeologists interpret the items you’ve chosen to be buried with? They will see that I was a rather busy and yet somewhat materialistic individual like most humans. That may change by the time archaeologists dig me up to steal all my treasures and archive them as well as fascinate them because the world may not be a material culture at that time. They can see what life may have been like during the chaos of the 21st century. Archeologists may also be off world and come back to earth and some of my goods may help them to discover why mankind no longer exists.

  27. Chris Shertzer says:

    If i was to be buried right now i would think my family and friends would bury me with several items i believe represent me very well.
    My mother would bury me with a little cross just in hopes it might get me into heaven even though i am no longer a part of her religion.
    My dad would put my bass guitar in there because of the countless nights we spent playing music.
    My brother would put a fat dube and records in there but then he’d prolly take the dube out and smoke it in my honor.
    My girlfriend would put cookie cake in there because she always wants to feed me.
    My best friend Nate would make sure my surf board got in there along with a bottle of gentleman’s jack, and the future would probably see this as a pretty fun loving society.
    None of this matters however because personally i want all of my body burned except for my donatable organs and my head which i would like decapitated and put in a box. then at my funeral we’ll play a nice classy game of 500 with my head and whoever wins gets 75% of my inheritance the other 25% of which will be distributed among my children.

  28. Rebekah Ewer says:

    I’ve never put thought to this, but it reminds me of my mother’s memory chest that she has made for us kids, the contents wont be reviled until we are all much older. I used to try and peek when I was younger, but now Im excited for the surprise. Anyway, If I were to die today, I would like for my family and friends to include the following.

    Photo Album/Copies: A picture is worth a 1000 words.. imagery holds a great amount of information for anthropologist to translate. Also, I love taking pictures and looking back on memories and even putting glory to my nice pictures through scrap booking and framing them. My pictures are mostly of landscapes, textures/patterns in nature, and people. I would pass my original photo albums down to surviving members like my mother has done for me.

    My trinkets: I have a collection of small trinkets and gifts that I have received over time from my friends and family that sit around my dresser and can see everyday. For example a small rubber pig me and all my friends got in elementary as a symbol of our friendship, a stone snail I got in DC that my mother has a duplicate of, also a symbol of our friendship and a connection to the small stone turtle my grandmother gave me, painted clay frog my friend got me while in on..I can put a name/s or memory to each one. I also have a memory box I would probably throw along in there, although I havent updated it in a while. Anthropologist may be able to ponder the attachment to such random inanimate/worthless objects.

    Some tunes: Maybe a few mix CDs that have been made/traded/given to me. A hint of outdated technology for anthropologist, and good music taste brought into the future. I always appreciate finding “new” old songs.

    Art supplies: Art is my hobby/life/love/occupier of time. If the Egyptians were right about the after life, I would want to have my supplies and tunes ready.

    Bottle of champagne: To signify celebration of a good loved life/transferring to the after life/finding my dead body.

    And an invitation for people to write something down and throw in there.

  29. Rebecca Taylor says:

    I tend to move around a lot, and I’m also pretty poor (like most other college students) so I don’t really have a lot of material possessions that I keep close to me. My dad would probably make sure I was wearing a cross that my grandmother got when she was little and would probably throw something hello kitty in there because he always jokes about I’m obsessed. I would want to wear the ring my boyfriend got me on our first anniversary since he is such an important part of my life, and he would probably make sure I got buried with my cell phone since he insists I’m too attached to it. My friends would probably add a Britney Spears cd, and the celtic friendship bracelet me and my bestfriend have had since we were 13. Besides the necklace and the ring I don’t think I would have anything else of real value, mostly stuff that symbols my relationships with people so future archaeologists would probably assume I was poor and immature from the stuff I was buried with. But I’ll be dead anyways so I can’t be too offended.

  30. Jamaal Foster-Scott says:

    if i were to die i would probably be buried with a ton of Washington Redskins items maybe the casket would be burgundy and gold. I would probably be buried with my iPod as well because my family and friends know how much i love music. i never really thought about what i would be buried with when i died. Archaeologists would be able to tell that i was a Washington Redskins fan and that i liked music if lucky they would be able to tell lots about me by the type of music i listened too. possibly be buried with a couple video games that are my favorites. But again i haven’t really thought so much about what i would be buried hopefully its not for a LONG time.

  31. Ashley Gibbs says:

    Personally, I’d like to have a Tibetan sky burial, but only if I hand raised the vulchers myself (being that temperature changes have affected the vulcher population of Tibet therefore they raise vulchers specifically to eat their dead). However, seeing as that would take some very significant life changes (I don’t think it’s a legal practice in the U.S.? Hah), this is just talk for now.
    If I were to be buried I believe my friends and family wouldn’t bury me with anything except clothing they picked out to cover my naked corpse, that probably will represent my personality and life style in no way and I assume the jewelry I wear on a regular basis, which isn’t worth any material value and may even deteriorate to nothing over time, and possibly other jewelry they found pretty or something equally self absorbed. I’ve come to find that most people, specifically my personal family, are very selfish and tend to make any death or major event about themselves and what they want, how they feel, etc. I could leave step by step instructions of how I wanted to be buried and they would still do what they wanted(I know this because I’ve watched them do it before). Overall, to future archaeologists my grave will be quite empty and boring and I will be considered rather poor.

    • Rebekah Ewer says:

      A Tibetan Sky burial, huh, just looked that up, pretty gruesome! I’ve thought about having my ashes made into a coral reef, or the viking burial where they cast you off on a flaming boat, but never a tibetan sky burial! Thanks for interesting info.

  32. Taylor Perschka says:

    Grave goods, as aforementioned, reveal quite a bit about not only the deceased person in question but also about a culture as a whole. In this day and age, I think my loved ones would not bury me with gold to ensure I had gifts for those in the after world–after all, this is not ancient Egypt! Hopefully my cat would not be mummified with me, too. On the contrary, I would prefer that my family and friends would bury me with small tokens embedded with sentimental value.

    In particular, I believe my parents would ensure to leave a photograph or an old stuffed animal that I’ve doted on. They would not leave jewelry or anything of that nature because it does not represent my taste or lifestyle. Also, as for my friends, I do not think they would leave much. Memories are more valuable than anything that can be left in a grave.

    Future archaeologists would probably interpret my grave as minimalistic to say the least. Perhaps that would reflect that our culture is not materialistic–which is not exactly the case. It is interesting to ponder that some things–such as grave goods–may reflect an induvidual’s tendencies and thus mislead archaeologists to deduce something about a certain culture.

  33. Jelanie Hill says:

    In my case, i believe my family would bury me with my primary instrument, the horn. Also they would probably bury me with an inscription pertaining to my love of music. Music has always been something that has affected my life in a positive way. Someone who stumbles upon my grave would could probably infer that I love music and viewed it in as a powerful and significant part of life.

  34. DK Nguyen says:

    I think I don’t have anything to really bring with me. Though my family might think that burying me with a Buddha gold chain that my grandma gave me when I was younger. I wasn’t really a devoted Buddhist, but if an archaeologist stumbles upon my grave he would think that Buddhism was a big part of my culture and family.

  35. Juan L Rodriguez says:

    My grave goods i think one of them would be my guitar because playing the guitar is a big part of my life also because i am the lead guitarist in my band back home. Probably more grave goods would be pictures of me and my friends and family to cherish the moments i had with them. My family would probably put a cross or something religious in my grave to show how my family are catholics. Also another grave good would be my black belt that took me three to four years to earn. These are just some things that could be my grave goods but there could be many more that my family and friends would put.

  36. Landon Jones says:

    It is difficult to think about what my family and loved ones would put with me at my funeral. I recently attended a Mass for a funeral with a closed casket but next to the casket were longboards, hiking equipment and other outdoor equipment to symbolize the life he lived. I would guess that my family and friends would put similar things that i enjoyed whether it would be my favorite movie or weight lifting equipment. I would guess a snowboard would be necessary due to my love of snowboarding. Sports in general are always big in my book as well. I know for sure my grave goods would be my favorite jewelry and clothing. I am sure that my parents and friends would bury me with many pictures of good memories to remind them of the happy life i lived.

  37. Julianna Nickolas says:

    My grave goods would most likely be the things that I cherish the most. I do not think my family and friends would bury me with too many items just the items that were part of my every day life. There would most likely be some of my favorite flowers in my casket. I would also probably be buried wearing the ring my dad gave when I was younger and my favorite necklace. My family may put my favorite perfume in there as well because I love scents and things that smell good. The last item I think they would add would be a family photo, that way I would always be with them. I’m not sure how future archaeologists would interpret the items buried with me. I would think that they would see that I was buried with the things that I loved the most. I also think that they might be thrown off about my clothes because they would be from a completely different era. Other than that I don’t think that my grave goods would be all that extravagant and I think they would take away that I was a simple person that loved the things I took with me the most.

  38. Samantha Peters says:

    Like many of the other students in this class, this is something I have never thought about before. I am honestly not sure what I would want to be buried with or what my loved ones would bury me with. However, if I had to choose, my boyfriend, sister, and father would probably bury me with my cookbooks since I love to cook/bake and am always in the kitchen. My boyfriend would probably throw in a bottle of red wine too. My juicer and food processor might also be included. Somebody would probably throw in a bar of dark chocolate or several. I think that future archaeologists would probably laugh at the cooking/kitchen technology that we have today, since appliances are something that are constantly being improved upon. My food processor and juicer will probably seem pretty lame compared to whatever they will be using in the kitchen in the future. I have no doubt that they would know what it is, though. I think they will know that I liked red wine and chocolate. To me that seems pretty simple to understand and it is probably two things that will still exist in the future. At the same time, they may have their own interpretation of it. Who knows?

  39. Ashlynn Christian says:

    I have always been one to reflect on things or materials that mean the most to me. But if I was to be buried, I would choose to be buried with several pictures of my family, my friends, my boyfriend, and even pictures of my dog. I would also want to be buried deck out in my Chicago Bears gear. And as childish as this sounds, my Disney movies since I am a Disney kid at heart and my Curious George, my grandparents gave to me when I was born. My mom would probably throw in all the baby clothes that she kept all these years. My two best friends would throw in these “BFF” necklaces we got 2 years ago as a joke. My boyfriend, as cheesy as he is would throw in pictures of us. I would hope that if archaeologists dug up my grave and found these items they would know that the relationships that I had with my family, friends, and boyfriend meant the most to me.

  40. Dustin Woodham says:

    I’m not sure what those around me would choose to put in my grave, but if it were up to me I think I’d have a few simple items. I imagine I will be married at the time I die so I’ll probably be wearing a wedding ring. I can’t really picture many materialistic items that would go in my grave, but I would probably have some sort of sporting item such as a baseball hat of my favorite team, maybe a football, or even a bowling ball since bowling is one of my favorite hobbies. I’d like to have a picture of my family buried with me for some symbolic representation that they were a very important part of my life and that I loved them. As of right now I don’t have any special heirloom that I would want to be buried with. Maybe sometime in my life I’ll get a piece of jewelry or a special book or something of great significance that I would want to take with me when I’m gone. Based on some of the things I’ve talked about, I imagine anthropologists would infer that I was interested in sports and that I was a family oriented person who wanted his family close to him even after he was gone.

  41. Preston Wrenn says:

    I would hope that I would be buried with pictures of my family when I pass on. To be completely honest I have no idea what I would want because I do not feel I have experienced enough items that would be so important that I would want them to be placed in my grave and to most likely never be seen again. I would hope that if archeologists were to dig up my body, they would find objects that could be inferred as to be of utmost importance in my life. Hopefully it is nowhere in the near future and my parents would not have to witness losing one of their children at such a young age.

  42. Marta Kidane says:

    Even though this is something many don’t think about, I have thought about grave goods plenty of times before. When any individual is alive they have an item that they find sacred or priceless, and to have these items when alive is equally vital to have when one has past. Grave goods that my family and friends would give me are cultural items I have from Eritrea/Ethiopia, and also a necklace I have worn for the past five years. Both these items represent who I was as an individual, and where I came from. Something that I would want future archaeologists to know about me is my culture, this is a very large aspect of my life that I would like future generations to know me for. For example, I would be dressed in a traditional Eritrean/Ethiopian dress, possible a kirar which is equivalent to a guitar, and also Habesha coffee utensils. When an archaeologist locates my grave goods, I feel that they will have a better understanding of what people from Eritrea/Ethiopia wore, or used on a daily basis. Also, a major thing that can be interpreted front he grave goods is the common bond both Eritrea and Ethiopia held. Even though they are both separate countries through demarcations, they both had similar attributes and through my goods archaeologists will see this. Being that I was born here in America, through the grave goods I feel that they will interpret how important my heritage was to me, and other diaspora as well.

  43. Josh Frechem says:

    Actually, I have thought about this a good amount and while I like the tradition of a burial I would prefer to be cremated once the rest of me is donated. Being a scientist myself I find it important to give back to the community in any way I can and depending on the way of my passing, that may be one last way that I can. I don’t really see the sense in laying in the ground for the rest of time although I am infatuated with the romanticism and tradition of it. Being buried is a way to be remembered and eternalized and there is a certain beauty to a funeral in a similar way there is for a birth. Seeing a life come full circle, while being upsetting, is also a beautiful thing in which cremation sort of takes away from but I would like to think cremation can take that back in some ways such as where ashes are placed or spread. I can see that the human fossil record would eventually be erased if cremation became mandatory and therefore ruin a future of anthropology if something were to happen, but I believe that it is the best thing to do considering soon we will have to start digging graves into the Mantle with how many people are on Earth and will eventually die.. That’s a lot of space taken up. However, if I were to be buried, I would not want to be buried with anything but would rather leave them with my family. The only thing I would want to possibly be buried with would be my wedding ring because I believe once you put it on not even death should take it off. It is possibly the deepest commitment one can make and I would like to think future Anthropologists would be able to see a dedication to family but that. I am a practical person so I think it is pretty selfish to be like the Egyptian Pharaohs and be buried with everything and everyone important to them. Anything I loved I would like to leave behind and hopefully I would leave a legacy of happiness so all the items I leave behind would be viewed in good light and actually get use. Things are made to be used not buried in the ground. So a future Anthropologist may think I was a pretty poor guy if they base it off my worldly possessions at death but perhaps they will realize that sometimes whoever appears to have the least had the most.

  44. Bill Phillips says:

    That is such a tough question however, if I were dead my friends and family would probably bury me with a family photo, blackjack table, and my smartphone. I feel these items best describe me , and would make my grave a restful, peaceful, and happy place for me to spend My time even though I Would be dead

  45. Desiree Johnson says:

    when I leave this earth i want everyone to know what was important to me, and what my life consisted of.. I would want in the grave wih me family pictures. I am big on family, and my family means the world to me. I would want something showing my christianity religion. So maybe a bible, cross or something of that nature. I have alot of jewelry that hold sentimental value, so i would leave that with love ones, but i wold want replica jewelry to show that i was into sentimental things. some of my favorite cd’s because I absolutley love music. The last thing i would want with me is something showing my heart. I am a big giver, and helper. I always am trying to find ways to help people, and offer a hand. Something that represents what I spent my life doing, and that is helping people. So when i leave this earth i feel archeologists would be able to determine from my “grave goods” what kind of person i was, what i lived for, and represents my life.

  46. Ashley Matters says:

    I never gave this question much thought because I have no intention of actually being buried, I would rather be cremated. However if I was going to be buried the materials I would want to be buried with wouldn’t be much. I have always been the type of person who regularly gets rid of her items so I don’t put much sentimental value on goods. The couple of things that I wouldn’t mind “going into the afterlife” with me after much thought would be the diamond ring my mother gave me on my sixteenth birthday since it does mean a lot to me since I am very close to my mother. I am very fond of my pets as well so they could also be buried with me when their time comes. Also I guess I would want my Iphone buried with me because it would hold all my pictures and music which might shed some light (if they could decipher the ancient technology) on what some of the culture was at the time, i.e. the style of dress, music, and activities of our time.

  47. Jarrell Young says:

    As jinxing as this topic sounds, if I were to pass away and be one with the heavens, there’s one object that I held dearly and believe everyone from my college friends to family members would bury with my remains, my chapstick. Through this item, I’ve held memories with most my friends and family members. My dad introduced it to me at a young age and ever since I’ve been an addict. I often would share it with my brother if I was ever without it. I used it so much my friends even became big chapsticks users. So with this item, I kinda gained a reputation for it amongst my friends and family, and quitre frankly, I think it’s cool. Oddly, chapstick played a great part in my life and in the relationships I had with close ones. Other than that, I really wouldnt want anything anything buried with me. I’d suppose pictures, which I have a lot of memories through phases in my life, but I’d rather those stay on with the living. I feel like buring me with pictures would be like me dying and taking all the memories with me. I want the good memories to live on. So based of my gravegoods, archeologist probably wouldnt gain much through their findings other than chapstick was a major piece and had some kind of value to me.

  48. Cody Smith says:

    I have never really thought about what I would be buried with, it’s not exactly a topic that comes up often. I do plan on being a husband and father someday, so my wedding ring and something of my children’s will be buried with me. I also plan on becoming a police officer so something from that would be buried with me

  49. Amber Thorne says:

    I have always imagined I would be cremated after death. I see no reason why my body should rot 6feet under. However, if I were buried my mother would bury my diary with me. Im sure at that point they would have read every detail of my life Ive kept secret up to that point. My friends would be different. One of them would put a map, hopefully marking all the places we’ve been. Another, a scrapbook of all of our puctures we taken (we aways take pictures everytime were out).
    During the ceremony I know my family, whether it may be my mother/father, or siblings will address how much they loved and cared for me. My bother especially would talk about our many nights we stayed up talking for hours and how we developed this bond that will last even after death. God willingly, if I have a family of my own before that point, I think they would say i was a loving, beuatiful, wife and great mother. As for my best friends, knowing how they are, I’m more than sure they would tell jokes of our druken nights together and how we all met. In any case, I hope everyone there will express how blessed and happy they were to be in my life, as I was to be apart of theirs.

  50. Chad Smith says:

    I do not want to think about what anyone would want to put in my grave if I died early, I know Im gonna live a long happy life and I just wanna die old and peacefully. Im sure everyone would leave a nice “grave good” if they wanted to, I would not really care if nobody brought me any “grave goods”. I would just be satisfied with the memories you and I have shared together. I think when I die I would want my burial to be in the sea, that way all my “grave goods” would be the ocean, or maybe a memorial site with my surfboard as the grave slate with my name on it.

  51. Scott Festejo says:

    This assignment required much thought for me. If i were to die now then I believe my parents would bury me with my pillow sheet that i carried around with me until I was 8. The rest of my family would put in family portraits and the spatula that I cook with at all the family BBQs. I cook for my family and BBQs are a main part of our bonding. My friends from growing up would put in surfboards, skateboards and bb guns because those were all the activities that we did. My friends from college would put in wrestling singlets, medals and shoes. I collect wrestling shoes and that is the creative part that they all know of me. These would be the items that describe me as a person and the people who discover this could easily figure out my personality.

  52. Jennifer Follin says:

    I couldn’t figure out what exactly I would have buried with me for a while, as I do not have many prized possessions. If I did indeed decide to be buried versus cremated, one item I would like to have with me would be my iPod. This has a lot of sentimental value as the contents have gotten me through many tough times. It also has potential archeological value, if found buried with my remains in hundreds of years. Another item would be my class ring from High School. My class ring consists of an emerald, my birth stone, and an emblem of two tennis racquets on one side, and music notes on the other. The emerald could be an obvious indication of when my birth date was, and the tennis racquets and music notes could provide insight on the culture of the 21st Century.

  53. Ethiopia Gultneh says:

    If I were to die, I believe my family would put pictures of me with them in the ground with me because family is the most important thing to me . They would also put a cross. I think my friends would put in pictures as well as s

  54. Alan Flynn says:

    I think that my family and friends would put things that symbolized what type of person I was and the things that I liked the most. I think they would put things like candy, money, pictures, and random things. Someone would interpret the things in my grave by saying that I was a person that enjoyed simple things and my relationships with other people were determined by encounters I had with them.

  55. Stephen Kerr says:

    I think that if my parents were tasked with sending me off with a few of my possessions they would start with those that would most represent who I was as a person. That being said, I can only imagine that I’d be buried with a Packer cheesehead and perhaps some reminder of my time as a Boy Scout. I would also assume that there would at least one thing there to represent my love for music and the symphony. It’s a hard to question to ask ones self really. How can we know what kind if physical objects others associate us with. This is certainly a challenging mental exercise.

  56. Myko Banks says:

    You would think one would know what they want to be bured with after their death. However, not many people think about that, myself included. We don’t really think of these things because we are really consumed in the things we own currently. Many don’t think about the effect it will have on them in the afterlife, if they even believe in that. I honestly am not sure how to go about this response. I am going to go about this in two different manners, though.
    In the first aspect, I would love to be “buried” with my future Chevy Camaro. I dream of owning a current Supercharged ZL1 Chevy Camaro, or the newest and greatest at the time. This would probably be possible in a mausoleum, or some large building that allows for such a large request. Also, I would be wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey. If I am married at the time, I would assume I would be wearing my wedding ring. After that, I cannot fathom what else I would need.
    Now, in the other aspect, I would not want to be buried with anything valuable. Why would I need such things? I’m dead. Maybe when the zombie apocalypse comes, I could be the flyest looking zombie in the land, I suppose. However, I think this is all unnecessary. I would prefer that my family does what they will with my belongings. There is no need to have any of that with a decaying body in a casket six-feet under.
    Wherever I end up after death, I would hope I have everything I need.

  57. Mark Belardo says:

    Archaeologists can learn a lot about a culture based on the kinds of grave goods they provide to their dead. If I were to die today, family and friends of mine would leave the things that meant the most to me. The most obvious thing would be my musical production equipment, in which most of my free time is centered around. Besides the equipment required to support my passion of producing music, I’ve never been one to stress over materialistic items; so maybe throwing in a New York Knicks jersey and rolling papers could simply satisfy the grave goods left for me. Not much in my case, but archaeologists could infer people from my particular culture left behind things of technology; my production equipment could possibly vouch for this inference.

  58. chend035 says:

    If I were to die today I believe that my parents would bury me with items that I carried around such as my blanket and stuffed animal. Along with photographs of me until the age of death. I believe that my friends would put in sentimental items or items that possibly reminded them of me; things that we did together or inside jokes. If my grave was opened and searched through, I think the person that found it would identify me as a simple person who enjoyed life. By having a life defined by moments as opposed to materialistic things.

  59. Ryan Whitmore says:

    If I were to be barried with eitems picked by my loved ones, I know exactly what they would be, and how they would be interpreted. I know I would be barried with my skateboard, because it has been a big part of my life. I would be barried with my orange converse, because they are my favorite shoes and a family legasy. The last thing I would be barried with is my volleyball, because I always loved playing. These things would most likely be interpreted as being active qualities. in conclusion the people who opened up my grave would know I liked to be athletic.

  60. A.J. Boughner says:

    I have thought about what my funeral would be like numerous times in my life, I think my parents would bury me in a Pittsburgh Pirates jersey and send some autographs with me from past steelers and pirates. I think my current friends would give me packs of baseball cards, and the pictures from the twenty baseball stadiums I have been to, knowing that my goal as a kid growing up was to make it to every baseball stadium in the Major Leagues. My college friends, would probably give me my bible or theirs, because they know what kind of role, Christ plays in my life on a day to day basis.
    People who dig me up, will probably think I am a huge baseball fan and a good Christian kid.

  61. Matthew Sachse says:

    If I were to die, first in foremost I would want my funeral to be a celebration of my life rather than somber mourning of my death. My friends would likely bury me with a bottle of my favorite bottle of whiskey and maybe my beer bong. Im sure my fraternity brothers would likely bury me with some sort of fraternity apparal, and probably some kind of item in honor of all the crazy things we have done together. Finally, I’m sure my parents would have some things as well, such as pictures, family items and maybe something that they feel really represents me as a person. I would not expect to be buried with any sort of religious paraphanalia, as I have made it abundantly clear to my parents that I do not want a Christian funeral even though I was baptized as a baby.

  62. Given my love of folklore, I would hope that my remains would be salted and burned to keep my soul from wandering the earth. However, if those I have left behind decide to go against this I would hope that only “grave goods” that remained pertained to my whimsical attitude and love for life. Often, I have been referenced to be weird, goofy, even ridiculous when the mood strikes. More than likely, my remains would be surrounded by cheaply made plastic toys. This may sound juvenile, but these trinkets would more than likely relate to some cherished memory or continued love of the context with which the item belongs. The archeologists, the poor bastards, who come to find my remains would more than likely associate my grave goods with that of a child like mind. Perhaps, I’ll be misdiagnosed as an individual who lived with autism. My colleagues would more than likely leave a beer or two, which is text book alcohol abuse. My family and friends would be the ones to leave a sonic screwdriver, a box of batteries, and an LED flashlight just incase I miraculously wake up and need a way out.

    – Ernest

  63. Jalisa Hall says:

    I’ve always been known as the person to brighten someone’s day, my friends and loved ones always look at me as the fun of everything. My family members and friends would probably leave things that would show things to remind them of what type of person I was. I can imagine that they would probably leave things like pictures of old times, teddy bears, and maybe even flowers. My mother would probably bury with me the ring that she gave me at an early age so that I would always remember her and my friends would bury with me things that remind them of good times we had, like maybe an old shirt that resembled a wild night or maybe even pieces of fabric with my favorite color.

  64. Bryan Dorman says:

    If I were to be buried with a few objects from my lifetime, I do not see myself as sentimental and being buried with anything, but my friends and family members might bury my wrestling shoes in my grave. Along with my shoes, I would most likely be buried with possibly articles of clothing that reminded my family and friends of me. If in the future my grave were to be uncovered they possibly would believe that our generation was not the sentimental type but highly materialistic. That we are all striving for the next best things and pass of the old ones. So in terms, of studying graves from an anthropological they would notice that my lifestyle involved sports and other various activities.

  65. Alfred Posis says:

    So I just died, hopefully a not too tragic death, and my family and friends had to bury me. What would some of the material things they’d bury with my rotting body? I hope they throw some really nice things, because I think I’ve been a pretty nice brother/son and friend.

    Many, many years later, future archaeologist may come across my burial site and dig up “grave goods”… What should they find? The first, probably a nice suit that I was clothed in, of course worn away by time. I hope they fit me in a quality material, so the tuxedo should not be TOO faded. When I was alive, I enjoyed quality clothing. Maybe the people digging me up would think that I was from a well-off family and fancied going to nice events. Of course, this isn’t true, but it’s not a bad image.

    Another item should be something coffee related. I’m a coffee addict and enjoy a good cup of joe. So the archaeologists may perhaps find a mug? I personally have a huge Starbucks mug collection from different cities and countries. Maybe my family decided to bury my over 40 mug collection with me. Future archaeologists may assume my day job was making ceramic mugs. Still, not a bad image.

    The last thing my family and friends would probably bury with me is anything Apple related. As a loyal customer of Apple, I usually am up to date with their new gadgets. My loved ones may put my iPhone/iPad under my dead hands and my other iGadgets around my corpse. Archaeologists may now think that I was a tech-wiz. So far, I just seem like the typical college student.

  66. Courtney Williams says:

    If I was dead I hope to not be buried in the ground but instead in the ocean surrounded by marine life. If possible, I would hope to be placed in one of the special rocks made to become coral reefs so even in death, I would surrounded by life. If items could be placed with me I think my friends and family would place different “nerdy” little trinkets from my favorite books, movies and tv shows (ex: harry potter time turner necklace,doctor who ring, blood and chocolate wolf’s fang). It would express my imaginative side to explore the unknown and magical qualities of life while the burial site itself would express my love of ocean and marine life. Archaeologist would interpret me as an adventurous person with an interesting and wild imagination.

  67. Kelsi Grace says:

    Well when I die, I would hope to be buried next to my Mother, we are very close so at my funeral my family and friends will be at both of our grave sights and they will know that I am with great company. Material things mean very little to me so I’m really not sure what I would want to be buried with items. But nonetheless, I believe that my sisters would put with me my dogs collar, because I loved my dog (Bella) like she was another one of my sisters. If I do pass before my mother than I know that she will surely put a Quaran in my grave with me being that she converted to Islam when I was in middle school. And lastly, I would want to be buried with flowers, roses to know that I will always have someone, alive that is, loving me.

  68. Santanna Miller says:

    I think that if I ever passed away my family would bury my journals with me. I write all of my deepest thoughts and secrets in my journal and my family knows how important they are to me. Other than that I don’t think that there is anything else I would be buried with because I don’t believe that you can take material things with you after death.

  69. Chris Hill says:

    The day i pass away i hope to be a long long long time away from now ever approaching future but honestly i do not know what my family and friends would bury me with. They might throw a football and cleats inside for my obsession with football, a bible with some rosary beads, pictures, and from then on im not really sure what they might put in my casket. They would probably put things i cant think of right now that associated to me and our relationship or just something funny that they knew would make us both laugh. Nothing really material stands out to me because you cant take it with you but they would put something in to represent our bond and to ensure that they care and think about me.

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