Cemeteries are reflections of society revealing cultural values at the individual, community and regional level. The symbols engraved onto these memorials demonstrate changing realities, designed to embody culturally important features representing identity. Through the analysis of gravestone symbols between the years of 1891 and 1960, taken from 46 cemeteries located throughout San Diego County, California, I explored San Diego's past attitudes towards death and the diverse representations of identities. Geographic spatial patterns were examined by splitting the county into rural and urban areas and were compared against each other to reveal the speed of mortuary styles across the region. Additionally, gender symbol patterns were analyzed by examining how the representations of gender identity and roles were expressed through funerary art and mirrored the changing social environment. Lastly, ethnic mortuary symbol trends were investigated through the preference of heritage language and folk religious symbolism. The decision to display ethnic folk traits indicates cultural retention, whereas similar patterns to American mortuary culture illustrate assimilation. Past mindsets are revealed through material culture, and analyzing these shifting gravestone symbol trends have provided insight into San Diego's changing social and cultural environments. Structuralist, Marxist and interpretive anthropological perspectives were used as guides in the creation of symbol typologies that were analyzed against 10-year increments to demonstrate shifting mortuary symbol trends. These seriation evolution diagrams documented the rise in popular styles, and the examination of local phenomena that paralleled the dates of the symbol trends further enriched the understanding of San Diego's mortuary symbol patterns. The exploration of San Diego's past attitudes towards death and the representation of identities through mortuary art contributed to the reconstruction of San Diego's multicultural history. This thesis on gravestone symbolism illustrated how cemeteries mirrored the changing cultural patterns across the region and through time, provided context into the evolving ideologies expressed in the archaeological record through mortuary material expressions, and highlighted the value of using gravestones as supplemental resources to research communities that are often not studied or absent from historical literature.