Although cemeteries typically are not eligible for listing on the National Register, they may be designated if they possess significance and integrity under a special criterion because of their clear historical importance. Because of the wide range of historic cemeteries, some are important for the cultural landscapes, while others may have high artistic merit in their collections of markers and monuments. For example, iconography and marker material trends and landscape elements can be used to help define the aesthetic value of a noteworthy cemetery. if they meet the special criteria, cemeteries can be nominated for National Register inclusion, which can either be in the form of an individual listing or as a “contributing element” within a broader historic district.
An example of this involves R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc., using these criterion to nominate the Stonington Cemetery for National Register inclusion. An early municipal cemetery established in 1849, the site has roots in the an early family homestead burial plot of one of the town's founders. Overseen by the Stonington Cemetery Association, this unique cemetery has been described as one of the defining cultural landscapes of the local region. National Register listing will bring the cemetery to greater public awareness and encourage more visitors to the area.