Exhibition explains the geology of gravestones

An exhibition called The Geology of Oxford Gravestones opens in the Blackwell Hall, Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford, on Saturday 17 July and runs until 12 September.

For geologists – whether amateur, student or professional – almost any urban cemetery provides an opportunity to carry out scientific field work, right on your doorstep and at no cost.

From Saturday (17 July) you will be able to discover how to use that resource to best advantage at an exhibition in the Blackwell Hall, Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford  OX1 3BG, which highlights the geological features and social history revealed in Oxford graveyards.

Gravestones are made from a variety of rock types formed in a range of geological settings, which makes cemeteries a geological treasure-trove.

And many gravestones are made of polished stone, so reveal details such as minerals and crystal features that are not easy to see elsewhere.

Some demonstrate textures and mineral compositions of igneous rocks. Others reveal sedimentary structures and fossils, and provide clues to movements of the Earth and its tectonic plates, identifying environments that existed hundreds of millions of years ago. 

The Geology of Oxford Gravestones exhibition is curated by geologists Nina Morgan and Philip Powell, honorary associates at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. It demonstrates the wide variety of rock types and geological features that can be seen in graveyards not just in Oxford, but throughout Britain.

The exhibition runs from 17 July to 12 September. It’s free to visit, there is no need to book, and there is even a great café on site!

For further information see https://visit.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/event/geology-oxford-gravestones and www.gravestonegeology.uk.