Heritage and Historical Archaeology Field Course at Emanu-El Cemetery


Victoria is a city with many historical cemeteries. Over the coming years, students in ANTH367 will document and map as many of these cemeteries as we can. Our first site is the Jewish cemetery associated with the Congregation Emanu-el. Congregation Emanu-el is the oldest surviving synagogue in Canada; the associated cemetery was dedicated in 1860 and remains in use today. Within the walls of the cemetery lie monuments dedicated to some of the most important residents and families from BC’s history, such as Samuel D. Schultz, the first Jewish Judge in Canada, and members of the Oppenheimer family, such as David Oppenheimer, second mayor of Vancouver (1888-1891), and so on.

This year, we will be at the cemetery on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from July 7 – 27. See syllabus here.

This website aims to share our explorations, studies, and projects with the wider community. As a side note: our work is non-destructive. We are in the cemetery to record and map only – there will be no excavation. We are working with Dr Richard Kool, Director of the cemetery and Rabbi Harry Brechner.

There are other two other sites associated with this project. The first is Taylor Peacock’s  blog, in which she documented her archive-based search for the people who are listed as buried in the cemetery, but for whom we have no gravestone. The second is Melanie Heizer’s Picturing Cemeteries, which emerged from her JCURA project looking at RTI and Photogrammetry.

(Please note: this course formerly ran under the number ANTH395)


Part of the family monument for the Sylvester Family, showing the inscription for Cecelia Sylvester.

Got a question? Message us here.

6 + 13 =