Dating human skeletal remains

30 Jan

The chief difference between cremation and burial is the speed of transformation: Corpses burn in two hours or less, but bodies take months or years to decay, depending upon methods used and local soil conditions.

Cremation is the burning of the human body until its soft parts are destroyed by fire.

The skeletal remains and ash residue (cremains) often become the object of religious rites, one for the body and one for the bones.

The method of body disposal least like cremation is mummification, which seeks to preserve the body rather than destroy it.

Archaeological evidence shows cremation rituals dating back to ancient times.

In this account the spirit enters the fetus through the cranial suture of the skull, with the growing embryo in a sense being "cooked" by the heat of the womb.At the end of life, a symbolic reversal sees the heat of the funeral pyre separating flesh from bones; the rite of skull-cracking frees the spirit for its ongoing journey, which is influenced by karma, or merit accrued during life.The major social elements related to massive increases in the population of industrial towns and major cities, whose cemeteries were increasingly hard-pressed to cope with the volume of the dead in an era of heightened concern with public hygiene—corpses buried near the surface of the ground were seen as a potential health risk.This was also a period of considerable interest in freedom of thought and creative engagement with ideas of progress.These groups often existed for years before they achieved the goal of cremation as a legal and established practice.In Holland, for example, the 1874 group did not actually open a crematorium until 1914.Hindus living in other parts of the world also practice cremation and either place cremated remains in local rivers or send the remains to be placed in the Ganges.While rites are also performed for set periods after cremation, there is no monument for the dead, whose ultimate destiny lies in the future and not in some past event. Cremation is the preferred funeral rite for Buddhists as well and is reinforced by the fact that the Buddha was himself cremated.