Barger cemetery is surrounded by apartment buildings on its north and east faces and an office building to the south. Tom’s Creek Road brushes against its western face. I remember visiting it without enough insulating clothes to make it pleasant on a windy 45 degree day. When I was asked there what kind of research one might be able to conduct there, I was unable to respond due to the conversation direction being taken by the group down a different direction which I now cannot remember. It occurred to me after the visit what I might have answered had I had a clear mind at the time, one which suffered from a lack of sleep.
Cemeteries, among other things, can be sites symbolic of spaces for the return to the repressed, a Freudian invocation of a psychological state in which a subject returns to a trauma repeatedly as a kind of “working through” and overcoming. The immortal images from the opening of Michael Jackson’s Thriller point to the kind of fantasy at the heart of cemeteries’ contents returning from their repressed states. Zombies dig themselves out of their graves and come for our brains. Ghosts float through wood and dirt and glide on cold winds seeking revenge. Often times journeys through nature can also tell stories of transgression and encounters with monsters.
So I guess I can see cemetery research perhaps in the different kinds of representations of the repressed. Cemeteries are sites for remembering and commemorating, but I wonder what archeological underpinnings might hold evidence for a link between commemoration and repression.