Field Guide

Wheat

A sheaf of wheat on a tombstone is often used to denote someone who has lived a long and fruitful life of more than seventy years. It is one of the most basic foodstuffs and is thought of as a gift from God, particularly because its origins were unknown. It denotes immortality and resurrection because of its use as a harvested grain. This association with immortality may explain why priests in ancient Greece and Rome sprinkled wheat or flour on their victims' heads prior to sacrificing them. A sheaf of wheat is a popular Masonic symbol as well. (1)

Wheat Strands or Sheaves

The divine harvest or a Masonic symbol. Wheat is commonly used for those who have lived a long fruitful life usually of seventy years or more. (2)

(1) 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.

(2) Taken from Our History In Stone: The New England Cemetery Dictionary by Christina Eriquez, published by Sinematix, Brookfield, CT, 2009.