Gravestone with crossbones 18th centuryThis gravestone can be found in the Trinity Churchyard at the Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City. (The site is also home to the remains of Alexander Hamilton.)

Under the bones crossed in an X reads the inscription:

Here lies the remains
of John Bates
who was Born March
ye 30th 1730 & Dep’td this
Life Decem’br 27th 1770

I wondered about the crossbones above the inscription and it seems that they are simply a reminder of death and mortality. People used symbols such as skulls, bones, scythes, as memento mori, or reminders that all living will also die someday.

For more about gravestone symbolism, visit:

thecemeteryclub.com
and
graveaddiction.com

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