Historic Cemeteries

Cultural Landscapes of Remembrance

Up until the 20th century, it was common to establish a small family cemetery on private land to bury your loved ones. These cemeteries are located in close proximity to older homes. Unfortunately, unchecked development and vandalism has destroyed above ground traces of these important cultural resources. Small family cemeteries hold an important place in the fabric of our communities, and the names found on the headstones are often found as the names to nearby roads or geographic features. These cemeteries represent the resting place of those who made Anne Arundel County the place it is today. In order to preserve these cues to the past, and respect the last resting place of our ancestors, County regulations do not allow cemeteries to be moved from their original location. 

When development is proposed near a cemetery, studies must be conducted to verify the extents of the cemetery boundaries. Vandalism often removes headstones, and wooden crosses used by less wealthy families do not survive to mark a graves location. When cemetery boundaries are marked, we often find outlier graves on the edges and outside the cemetery boundaries. To prevent an unexpected discovery when construction begins, we require that a 25-foot buffer be placed around the cemetery to protect against the inadvertent disturbance of undiscovered graves (Anne Arundel County Code Article 17-6-503) and a preservation easement.

Please see below for a few resources about cemetery preservation. If you know of a historic cemetery that you think is not protected by the County's cemetery database, please contact the Historic Preservation Planning Section.