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A Brief History of Cremation

A Brief History of Cremation

Humans began burying and commemorating their dead shortly after the species’ emergence. As a result, funerals have always been an essential aspect of humankind, regardless of culture. Americans have historically chosen to be buried for religious reasons, and you may have attended a burial yourself. Cremation is becoming more widespread nowadays, and an increasing number of individuals are contemplating it as a means to lay their remains to rest.

Since its inception in 1999, Funeral Caring USA has been providing local families with affordable funeral service rates. Our on-site crematory is one of the best in the state of Texas. If you’re interested in learning more about it, you can find a brief history of cremation further down on this page.

What is Cremation?

Cremation means to reduce a body to ashes, also known as cremains, through burning it. It can be used in lieu of burial as a funeral or post-funeral rite. Cremation leaves ashes that can be buried, placed at a memorial site, kept by families in urns, or spread in a variety of ways.

Cremation Is an Ancient Tradition

Scholars agree that cremation originated approximately 3000 B.C. Decorative pottery urns found among Slavic peoples in western Russia show that cremation expanded across northern Europe during the Stone Age. Between 2500 and 1000 B.C., cremation cemeteries emerged in certain parts of western Europe. By the Mycenaean Age, circa 1000 B.C., cremation was an accepted element of Grecian burial rituals and was even promoted in a war-torn land.

The Roman Empire employed sophisticated urns to keep remains in buildings comparable to today’s columbaria. Then, due to the Christianization of the Roman Empire around 400 A.D., the practice of cremation was mostly phased out. Except in plague or war, burial remained the universally recognized disposition technique across Europe for the following 1500 years.

Modern Cremation

In 1873, an Italian professor developed a model of his cremation chamber and presented it at the Vienna Expo, which ushered in the modern practice of cremation. Dr. Julius LeMoyne created the first crematory in the United States in 1876 in Washington, Pennsylvania. As communities grew and resources and technology improved, crematories sprung up throughout the country. When Dr. Hugo Erichsen created the Cremation Association of America in 1913, cremations began to take off in popularity.

Since the 1980s, cremation has grown in popularity in the United States and worldwide. This increase can be attributed to various causes, including cost, environmental concerns, inventiveness, religion, and others.