Most cemeteries and burial grounds demonstrate some form of organisation or ordering of burials. Whether this arrangement is temporally constructed, related to aspects of social identity or on the basis of some other arbitrarily defined system of organisation, spatial patterning is generally observable in the layout of graves. The material culture of cemeteries, such as grave goods and headstones, represents the meaningful placement of cultural products which, when analysed, can be seen to reflect the ideas and practices of the society responsible for their creation.
This study is focused upon the identification of spatial patterning as it is manifested in the material culture of the South Brisbane Cemetery. The site is one of the most poorly documented burials grounds in the Brisbane region, this, in conjunction with its status as a secondary cemetery to those on the North side has led to the site being largely neglected by both historical and archaeological research. This study utilises material culture analysis in the examination of wider patterns which exist in the placement of burials and therefore determined the overall layout of South Brisbane Cemetery. Results indicate that the spatial arrangement of South Brisbane Cemetery is defined by chronological patterning as well as factors related social identity and its manifestation in the cemetery environment.