The Old Edson Cemetery: Investigations into an Early 20th Century Western Alberta Cemetery

  • Author / Creator
    White, Christopher LJ
  • This thesis uses archaeological survey and historic documentary sources to reconstruct past mortality patterns and understand mortuary practices from the early 20th century Edson Cemetery in Edson, Alberta. Results show that the cemetery existed foremost as a place to enshrine the individual identity of the deceased, with pragmatic concerns about public health and municipal development guiding the establishment, management and eventual abandonment of the site. Mortality patterns show a high number of infant and young childhood fatalities compared to their representation in the living population. Deceased infants received the same level of memorialization as adults, reflecting both a domestic and public identity. Adult mortality patterns follow known occupational risks while a spike in adult deaths in late 1918 coincides with the spread of the “Spanish Flu” epidemic. These findings highlight the importance of historic context and the value of documentary evidence for analyzing past mortuary behaviours.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Gouglas, Sean (History and Classics)
    • Lovell, Nancy (Anthropology)
    • Losey, Robert (Anthropology)