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The topic for the January 2011 edition of the Graveyard Rabbits Carnival is How long have they been there:

This topic was submitted by the Association. Post a photograph of the oldest tombstone in your family collection, your local cemetery, or one you just happened to bump into in your Rabbit travels. That would be the oldest burial date! All the Rabbits will be interested in your fascinating finds. See you at the carnival.

The oldest burial date I happened to bump into in my Rabbit travels? There are very old graves in the region: prehistoric burial sites (almost 4000 years old), Roman burial sites (2000 years old), and medieval churchyards (1000 years old), to name but a few. Many of these sites are not recognizable as burial sites anymore, except maybe to an expert.

The oldest burial site with a name and a date that I have encountered is a bit younger, but still almost 700 years old: The tomb of Guy of Avesnes, who died in 1317.

Tomb of Guy of Avesnes, Dom church, Utrecht

Tomb of Guy of Avesnes (detail)

Guy, who was born c.1253, became bishop of Utrecht in 1301. He died in 1317, and was interred in the cathedral of Utrecht (now a protestant church). His tomb is still there, though damaged by the reformation iconoclasm in the 16th century.

Tomb of Guy of Avesnes, Dom church, Utrecht

Tomb of Guy of Avesnes

Photos by the author, November 2008. They appeared originally in the post A bishop’s grave.