What are Tent Graves?

There are people who love wondering through cemeteries, church graveyards and family farm burial plots to read the inscriptions appear on gravestones. They like to imaginewhat kind of people are buried there. People are fascinated by the awesome and weird headstones found in Tennessee, USA. Graves such as the fascinating tent graves, started appearing in cemeteries around the 1820s but started declining in the mid-20th Century.  Many of these graves don’t have inscriptions, but there are others inscribed with separate headstones.

Weird Tent Graves

There are actually many tent graves also known as  comb graves that are found  from Albany to Coffee County in Tennessee. The tent graves are made with a fascinating selection of materials such as marble, limestone and even metal. This is not something new. In fact this strange tent grave practice began in the middle of the 18th and 19th century already.

It is believed that the idea came about to keep animals from digging into the graves, but some people question this.


Tent Graves



They say that if this were the case, then surely you could just put a huge piece of flat cement over the grave, which would be far easier than erecting these strange tent graves.

A Fitting Area for the Comb Graves

The Cumberland Plateau, is the southern part of the Appalachian Plateau in the Appalachian Mountains of the United States. The area offers magnificent beauty with mountain ranges, forests and rocky cliffs, and seems to be the fitting place to find tent graves. The forests have trees such as Pine, Oak, Beech and Hickory growing in them, and when these trees are blowing mysteriously in the wind, finding tent graves just seems the most natural thing.

Many early explorers settled and died in these parts and when you read some of the inscriptions on the unique tomb stones, you get to understand some of the hardships and heartbreak they endured. As mentioned, the grave sites are known as tent graves, and a typical grave is made up of 2 flat sandstone slabs which are leaned up against one another to form a protective roof along the  length of the grave.

Graveyards of the Cumberland region are covered graves. These graves in the Rock Island-McMinnville area can often be seen with an engraved headstone. In the Sparta area there are a number of cemeteries which feature combs with the inscription cut on one of the side slabs. It is fascinating that these strange graves are often found among the more modern gravestones, and you recognise them because of the giant slabs of rock in a tent formation over the area of the burial spot.

Masonic or the Occult?

Many of the headstones are marked with stars and other weird symbols combined with the person’s name, their birth- and death date. Some people believe these signs are masonic while others say they are part of the occult. Whatever people think, the stone have some intricate and talented craftsmanship involved.

Even though the tent graves provide many historical explanations they provide plenty of interest and intrigue as well as fascinating craftsmanship for grave walkers.

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All info was correct at time of publishing