DEFINITION of 'Boneyard'

A boneyard is a storage space for obsolete items. The term "boneyard" derives from the term's association with cemeteries. The fact that items stored here are generally stripped of any functional parts, and only their "skeletons" remain, tie the concepts together. The terms "boneyard" and "graveyard" may be seen as interchangeable when referring to these storage systems.


Scrap yards for vehicles and industrial machinery often resemble metal boneyards. In the office environment, storage rooms for obsolete computers and other hardware may be considered to fit the boneyard category as well.

Types of Boneyards

Boneyards can exist in a wide range of environments. Often, items kept in a boneyard are of little to no value in their current condition and may be considered just a storage space for the items as they are prepared for disposal.

In a technological sense, a boneyard may include parts for outdated systems. The CRT computer monitor, once fairly common, is no longer in use traditionally. Even a part that may have some use, such as internal computer hard drive, may be deemed obsolete if its capacity is well below the standards of the day. A company may place those items in a boneyard until they can properly handle and dispose of them.

Another common form of a boneyard centers on the automotive or industrial industries. These can include vehicles or other types of equipment that are no longer in working order but may have value as a source of spare parts. It can also include any parts stripped from the original equipment that may be useful to repair equipment that is in better condition. Scrap metal boneyards may have items whose only value is in the material in which they are made.

Examples of Boneyards

Some of the more notable boneyards, or graveyards, include those used to store decommissioned aircraft. One of the largest within the United States is located at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. The approximately 2,600-acre property holds an estimated inventory of over 4,400 decommissioned aircraft.

In Las Vegas, Nevada, the Neon Boneyard houses a variety of neon signage that the variety of casino properties in the area have removed or decommissioned. While the facility functions as storage for the items, it also functions as a museum. This allows the items to be cared for and shared for the historical value the pieces may provide even if their functional value is quite low.

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