Kassandra Procopio


Education: Bachelor of Science in anthropology (May 2020)

Currently pursuing a Master of Arts in museology at the University of Washington

McNair Project: Understanding Urban and Rural Cultural Changes through Morphological Disparities Among Cemetery Gravestone Markers (2019)

Mentor: Marta Alfonso-Durruty, Ph.D.

Current research on cemeteries have thoroughly connected gravestone marker physical characteristics like height, width, material and shape as indicators of cultural values like wealth, societal status and the deceased’s perceived social identity during time of interment. What has not been strongly researched is how gravestone marker data can be used to better understand cultural dynamics. This paper assesses the cultural differences between rural and urban communities through analysis of the morphological disparities between gravestone markers. Observations and data collection from Riley County, KS’s, Pleasant Valley Cemetery (rural) and Sunset Cemetery (urban) shows environmentally and physically similar communities but reveals distinct cultural differences. The data shows that Riley County’s urban cemetery Sunset Cemetery) has lower gravestone marker morphology variation and reveals a higher number of buried wealthier economic status individuals than the rural cemetery (Pleasant Valley Cemetery).