The obelisk is a common monument found within cemeteries, its definition coming from the Greek word ‘obeliskos’ meaning a pointed object. The tall tapering structure consists of a base, a shaft with four inscription panels, and a pyramid shaped capital.
Originating from Egyptian culture, it pointed to the sun and was a symbol of the connection to the afterlife. It became popular in the Victorian era when Christians adopted the monument to represent the flight of the soul to Heaven. It has become a symbol to represent the connection between earth and heaven; eternal life; and rebirth.
Obelisks are most often found on family plots where each panel records details of a family member’s life, or on the graves of notable persons.
An obelisk can also be used as a sundial where the end of the shadow can determine compass directions.