Field Guide


The anchor is a symbol of hope. The reason for this symbolic meaning comes from the passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews 6: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil, 20 Wither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Statues of the Virtue of Hope have her leaning on an anchor.

Anchor Cross

Known as the crux dissimulata, this anchor is actually a cross in disguise (the bottom open curve represents receptivity to spiritual matters). When Christians first started practicing their religion, they had to do it under a veil of secrecy lest they be persecuted for their beliefs. The anchor cross was one way Christians could broadcast their religion to other followers without being discovered. It is, understandably, a more popular symbol in cemeteries in coastal cities, but it does not always have a link to the seafaring life.

Taken from Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography written and photographed by Douglas Keister, published by Gibbs Smith, Salt Lake City, 2004.