Spade & the Grave

death and burial through an archaeological lens


Spade & the Grave is a place to explore the topics of death / dying / burial through the lens of archaeology. Archaeologists are faced with human mortality regularly through research, excavation, and often face to face encounters with the dead. As a result, this connection seems only natural.

I’m Robyn S. Lacy, an archaeologist, death scholar, archaeological illustrator, burial ground conservator, and heritage consultant. I am presently working for TMHC, a CRM consulting firm, as an Archaeological, Cultural Heritage, and Social Media Technician!


Helping reset a gravestone at Woodland Cemetery, 2019

While I recently worked with built heritage and heritage landscapes, my primary academic research area is historical mortuary / landscape archaeology. I am particularly interested in aspects of burial landscape development, winter burial practices, protective marks, gravestone inscription development, as well as the use of lime in heritage structures, and lime kiln development and use in North America.

I received my MA in Archaeology with Distinction from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2017, where my research focused on examining the spatial relationship between early 17th-century colonial burial grounds and settlements. I holds a BA in Archaeology with a minor in Museum & Heritage Studies from the University of Calgary, and spent one year of my undergrad studying British Archaeology at Durham University in England.

As a heritage consultant, I am available to research and produce reports, blog posts, social media content, and papers on historical sites, buildings, and burial grounds, as well as archaeological projects. I am eligible to hold an archaeological excavation permit in Newfoundland & Labrador, and Nova Scotia according to provincial regulations. I am experienced in assessing historic structures for heritage integrity as well as creating a development history and phasing for the property. My main interest is burial ground conservation in Canada, and I have amply experience working with burials both historic and contemporary, above and below-ground. I am available to teach workshops on best gravestone preservation and recording practices, as well as restore community gravestones. Please email me if you are interested in discussing why I can do for you!

I frequently publishes on my research through peer-reviewed journals and texts, community/organization journals, and here on Spade & the Grave.


The Aurora Dead House, 2018

I am currently working on her first book,
“Burial and Death in Colonial North America: Exploring Interment Practices and Landscapes in 17th-century British Settlements”, based on the work conducted during my Masters research on 17th century burial grounds and landscapes in colonial British settlements in North America, which will be published with Emerald Publishing.

You can contact me through the ‘Contact’ page on this website, or through twitter, @robyn_la

Thanks for reading!