Tombstones are something most of us don’t like to spend
Burial traditions have varied over time, and different cultures have different customs for putting their loved ones to rest. Burial is really not a necessity unless the person died from an infectious disease, but burial ceremonies take place more often than not. We’re familiar with traditional burial and cremation, but what other options have there been for a final resting place?
Dating from 7th century England, a number of Anglo-Saxon bed burials have been discovered. A bed burial is exactly like it sounds — the person is buried underground, lying on a bed. Many bed burials are thought to be of those with high status, and were often women.
Coffins, which have been placed on cliffs, can be found in several Asian countries. They were an ancient custom of a few minority groups, particularly the Bo who lived in southern China.
Practiced in Tibet, parts of China, and Mongolia, sky burials involve leaving a body on a mountaintop to be broken up and eaten by scavenging animals. Tibetan Buddhists look to a sky burial as a reflection on the impermanence of life. They consider the body a vessel, and the practice is deeply moving and spiritual.
Also known as a tumulus, a burial mound is a mound of earth and rocks that covers one or more graves. Burial mounds are located all over the world and are often believed to be the final resting place of important leaders, but some cultures used this method of burial for all their dead.
Tower of Silence
Another type of ritual exposure was practiced by Zoroastrians as a method to dispose of the dead bodies of their fallen kin. The towers are found in Iran and India. The bodies are placed atop the dakhmas, or towers, and exposed to the elements and scavengers.
A ship burial describes a funeral where the body of the deceased is enclosed within a boat or a ship before burial in the ground. This method was often used by Vikings to bury those of high status. They have been excavated throughout Scandinavia, the British Isles and parts of Europe.