Whether it was then prompted by any esoteric motive, such as the return to the womb of Mother Earth, as has…Burial in the ground by hollowing out a trench in the earth for the body or covering it with rocks or dirt dates back at least to the Middle Paleolithic Period.By the time of Jesus Christ they were coated with lime so that they could be recognized and avoided—the literal origin of the metaphoric “whited sepulchres.” Among many people, however, sepulchral caves continued to be regarded as sacred and eventually became places of worship.
Those of Buddhists are laid with the head to the north.
The bodies of ancient Egyptians were placed to face toward the west, perhaps as an indication of the importance of the land of the dead. Early cultures often buried their dead in a crouching or squatting position.
Customarily, however, graves have been planned for the burial of individuals.
Caves, a natural refuge of humans, have also been used for the dead.
The Old Norse people built barrows that sometimes reached enormous heights.
In eastern North America, large burial mounds were characteristic of Indian cultures from 1000 Graves may be mere shallow pits, or they may be intricate and beautifully fashioned subterranean palaces sunk deep into the earth and spacious enough to accommodate vast numbers of persons.Excavations of the royal graves of ) revealed, in an inner chamber of one, the body of a ruler with a few intimate attendants and, in surrounding chambers, servants, ministers, dancing girls, charioteers with vehicles and animals, and other persons who had been slain to provide service in death.Recent discoveries in Peru revealed that the Paraca burial chambers, hewn out of solid rock 18 feet (5 metres) below the surface of the ground, were large enough to accommodate as many as 400 corpses with all the belongings that it was thought they would need in the afterworld.Upright burial has been favoured by other people, particularly for warriors. In the 21st century the dead are interred in cloth-lined and simply ornamented coffins called caskets, and after ceremonies of eulogy and farewell the casket is lowered into a rectangular hole, usually dug 6 feet (2 metres) deep into the soil, which is then filled up with earth.Beginning in the 19th century, burials increasingly took place in cemeteries, which are special areas set aside as sites for graves.Both caves and earth graves encouraged the development of other burial practices: the use of coffins and rich graveclothes and burial goods.