Spade & the Grave

death and burial through an archaeological lens

Black Cat Cemetery Preservation

Interested in sprucing up your community’s historic cemetery? Repairing those fallen gravestones? Need some research done on a local cemetery? Do you need advice on how to proceed with cleaning a burial ground, while protecting the site?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Black Cat Cemetery Preservation specialises in historic gravestone and monument conservation and restoration in Canada. Below you’ll find services from cemetery workshops and assessments, to brush clearing and conservation reporting. These services are offered by myself, Robyn Lacy, and my husband, Ian Petty. Together, we have a combined 20 years of experience in the heritage sector as archaeologists, gravestone conservators, and cultural heritage technicians. We have worked across Canada and the United States, as well as on the Isle of Man, recording gravestones and cemeteries, conducting archaeological surveys, mapping sites, and evaluating heritage structures and landscapes. We look forward to working with you!

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Broken stones for the Carter children.

Services Offered

Best Practices for Cemetery Preservation: We offer workshops and talks over zoom or socially distanced in person in certain locations, to your community group or class on best practices for gravestone recording and conservation, do’s and don’ts for preserving your gravestones, and other aspects of cemetery archaeology.

  • Cost for a 45 min – 1hr talk: $100 CAD (zoom/digital talk)
  • Cost for 1 hr workshop on site: $150 CAD + Mileage (@0.52/km)

Cemetery Conditions Consulting: If you are looking at moving forward with a graveyard or cemetery clean-up and restoration project, we offer consulting services on evaluating gravestone condition, and providing ‘Do No Harm’ restoration advice for individual stones. This can be done remotely with photographs of gravestones, or in person, and will be presented in the form of an illustrated report. Please contact me for more details. 

  • Cost for consulting & reporting: $75/hr

Cemetery Restoration: Comprehensive conservation & restoration services with a ‘Do No Harm’ approach for historic cemeteries is offered on simple and small complex monuments, the most common styles in historic sites. We raise sunken stones from below the surface, implement best-practices for conservation regarding foundation setting and stabilisation, gravestone pinning and reconstruction, and gravestone cleaning using solutions which will not cause extended deterioration of the stones, such as D/2. Working with the most up-to-date stone preservation techniques, gravestones will be cleaned and conserved in order to retain their history and inscriptions for future generations. All prices are subject to change.

  • Charge-out rate: $50
  • Cost per gravestone: 
  • Gravestone cleaning per stone = $40-100 CAD (dependent on size)
  • Gravestone repair (no pinning) & cleaning = $60-150 (dependent on size)
  • Gravestone repair (pinning) & cleaning = $75-200 (dependent on size)
  • If you have multiple stones that need repair, please contact to discuss a group rate.
  • If you are interested in learning more about the Memorial Grid system, used as a sturdy, level base to replace cracking concrete, or purchasing it for yourself, please check out their website: memorialgrid.ca! The grid is made from 85% recycled materials, and will keep even large obelisks from shifting and sinking for years to come, for a fraction of the cost.

Cemetery Recording & Mapping: Historic cemeteries often have unreliable maps that do not correspond to records. With experience mapping and recording cemeteries and grave markers in Ireland, the Isle of Man, British Columbia, Newfoundland, Alberta, and Ontario, I would be more than happy to undertake mapping projects to ensure accurate, reliable records for your database and archives. If applicable, community volunteers and students can be taught to carry out recording for projects.

  • Cost for recording & mapping: $200 per 50 gravestone
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The repaired Carter Sisters’ stones

Cemetery Clean-up: Have a site that is overgrown and overwhelming? We will come and clear that brush away, to make your site more accessible!

  • $75 CAD per hour + Mileage (@0.52/km)

Historic Research & Reporting: As archaeologists, we have extensive experience preparing documents and reports on the background, alterations, and evolution of historic sites. For archaeological and historical sites from the historic period, this involves historic research at archives, land registry offices, museum collections, and more in order to track down the evolution of the landscape and the site within it. If you want to look a little more about your site before moving forward, contact us!

  • $75 CAD per hour

Robyn S. Lacy, MA is qualified to hold archaeological field permits in the provinces of Newfoundland & Labrador and Nova Scotia, in accordance with provincial guidelines. She has experience with cultural heritage policy and planning in Ontario, gravestone conservation and repair, burial ground survey and excavation, landscape analysis, reporting, and has excavated sites in Newfoundland, Ontario, and British Columbia, as well as the Isle of Man. She graduated with her Masters in Historic Archaeology from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2017, and is currently working on her PhD.

Ian C. Petty, MA is qualified to hold archaeological field permits in the province of Newfoundland & Labrador, is accordance with provincial guidelines, and the state of Connecticut, USA. He has experience with museum curation, collections management, field archaeology, paper and metal artifact conservation, and ceramic analysis, reporting, and has excavated in Oregon, Connecticut, New York, Ontario, Newfoundland & Labrador, California, and Washington State. He graduated with his Masters in Historic Archaeology from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2020.

If you are interested in discussing services or are interested in obtaining a quote for a potential project, please contact us at blackcatrestoration (at) gmail (dot) com, or through the ‘Contact’ page on this website.

Looking forward to working together!