West Texas is a quite a ways from the closest ocean – about 500 miles – so it is a little bit of a mystery about these oyster shells that have been pressed into the rough concrete on these graves. I see this sort of regularly in my wanderings and always wonder about the process of it all.

These markers are in fairly good condition;  most of the time all the shells are broken, by our wicked summer hail or by vandals: I do not know.

Meadow, Texas
photographed 11.7.2020

Posted on November 18, 2020, in Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Isn’t this a slave tradition?

    According to “The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Volume 23, Folk Art” by Crown, Rivers and Wilson, seashells were a representation to slaves of returning to Africa: “They said the sea had brought them to their new country and the sea would return them to Africa when they died.”

    So whether the shells were scattered or cemented into place, “they are meant as a symbol that ensures a safe journey is made to that unknown shore where everlasting life is possible. Loose shells placed on a tombstone or dropped on the ground around it are also a visible reminder that the person buried below continues to be remembered and honored by those still living.”

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