Traditional ground burial
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Death is a difficult, yet inevitable part of life, and everyone’s last wishes vary greatly. The main part of funeral planning, is including the deceased’s preferred method of honoring their remains. Traditional burial is the most popular method, and holds a lot of religious/cultural significance.
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Cremation is another popular choice, and involves the person’s remains being burnt, until only their ashes remain. The ashes are then handed to the family, who will typically store the ashes within an urn. They can decided to spread the ashes, or keep them within a special place.
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Mummification is normally referred to within a historical sense, but the practice has been modernized within some cultures. A person’s remains will be submerged into a pool liquid, which is specially formulated to preserve the body, and allows loved ones to keep the remains intact.
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Tree burial is one of the strangest methods of burial, but it is popular within certain countries, such as the Philippines. This method involves putting a person’s remains within the branches of a tree, or embedding them into a tree trunk. The remains can be placed in a coffin, or wrapped within a blanket.
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Cryonics is a method of preservation that is still being researched. It involves cryogenically freezing a person’s body, with the hope that their body can be revived in the future. This method of freezing doesn’t damage any of the person’s tissue, so they are perfectly preserved.
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Tree planting is one of the more modern methods of burial, and involves a person’s ashes being mixed into some soil or a seed, which is then planted. The ashes don’t spoil the tree’s soil, as they actually nurture its growth. The tree then gives loved ones a special place they can visit.
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Aquamation is basically the opposite method of cremation, as it involves a person’s body being ‘bathed’ in a tank of water. This actually speeds up the deterioration process, and isn’t everyone’s first choice. However, some people believe that it has less of an impact on the environment, in comparison to cremation.
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Resomation is similar to aquamation, as a body is placed within a tank of alkali and water-based solution. The tank has a high pressure, which decomposes the body into a liquid, and transforms the person’s bones into ash. The liquid can then be used for many ecological practices, whilst the ashes are placed into an urn.
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Space burial is probably the most interesting method of burial, but it is definitely the most expensive. This method involves the ashes, or full remains of a person’s body, being launched into space (via a rocket of course). Celestis are a company that provide memorial space trips, following space burials.
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Dissolution is perhaps the quickest, but most unnerving, method of ‘burial’. This method involves a body being placed into a container of strong chemicals, which are able to rapidly dissolve the remains. It often requires the body being cut into pieces, before being placed within the chemicals.
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Promession is another more eco-friendly method of ‘burial’, and involves the body being transformed into plant fertilizer. The body is frozen via liquid nitrogen, and is processed into a powder. Once the body is a powder, it can be spread onto plants, and mixed into soil.
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Plastination is similar to mummification, but is typically used for people that want their body to be showcased to the public. The process involves removing all of the liquid from the body, whilst allowing the tissue mass to remain. This preserves the body completely, leaving it looking like a hyper-realistic mannequin.
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Exposure, commonly known as ‘sky burial’, is a popular burial method in countries such as Tibet. This is due to the ground being unsuitable for digging, and there being a lack of resources for cremation. The body is released into the wild, so nature can literally feast on it.
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Memorial diamonds are another unique way to keep a loved one close. These diamonds are made by pressurizing the person’s hair and/or ashes, similarly to how a normal diamond is made. However, the process is much quicker and is a lot more sentimental to the family, as it can be worn in customized jewellery.
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Hanging coffins are actually an ancient method of burial, and doesn’t occur within the modern world. This method was popular along coastal areas, as coffins were suspended over cliff-faces. It is still unknown how these coffins were placed so strategically.
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Sea burial is a popular method of burial among sailors, and can hold a lot of religious/cultural significance. A body will typically be wrapped within a blanket, placed into a small wooden raft and sent into the sea. In some cases, the body is placed with weights into the water, so it sinks to the ocean floor.
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Home burial is typically reserved for family pets, but it can be a great way to honor your loved ones. Some families prefer this method of burial, as it allows them to be closer to their deceased family member, and it provides them with a much more private place to grieve their loss.
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Body donation has gained a lot of popularity in the last decade, and is a great way of helping others, even after you die. Being an organ donor means that doctors can use your body parts to ensure the survival of someone in need. You can also opt to donate your entire body for scientific research.
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With the advancements of 3D printing, there are new methods of memorial being developed. For example, Wieki Somers have developed a way of incorporating human ashes into ornaments. This means that families have the opportunity to have part of their loved one, transformed into a household ornament.
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If you like the idea of being ‘one with the earth’, you can have your ashes transformed into a beautiful piece of coral. The company Eternal Reef places peoples’ ashes into coral reef moulds, which are then placed into large coral reefs; adding to the amazing ecosystem.
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A portrait may seem like a strange method of memorial, but it can hold a lot of sentimental value to a family. This method involves a person’s ashes being mixed into paint, and that paint being used to create a beautiful piece of artwork (whether it’s a landscape or portrait image).
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Fireworks are typically reserved for certain celebrations, but they can also be used as a way of saying goodbye to your loved ones. A person’s ashes can be placed into a firework, and then set off whenever the family see fit. It is definitely a unique method of departure.
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Another memorial method that has seen an increase in popularity, is vinyl compression. This method involves someone’s ashes being pressed into a unique, completely customizable vinyl record. It is a great way of remembering the music lover of your family, and it provides a family with a great keepsake.
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Adding to the list of unique and popular memorial methods, is tattoos. Now some people may get memoriam tattoos in the form of dates, times, places and portraits, but this can be taken one step further. A person’s ashes can be mixed into the tattoo ink, and become part of a tattoo.
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Similarly to memorial diamonds, memorial jewellery makes use of ashes that have already been created. Ashes can be placed into unique pieces of jewellery, such as: bracelets, necklaces, rings and earrings. The ashes are often placed into a clear chamber, or mixed into the main metal being used e.g. gold and silver.
Tower Of Silence
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A tower of silence is an ancient method of burial, and is still practiced within many cultures today. This method involves a person’s body being placed within a circular structure, which prevents the decomposition from interfering with the natural elements around it. The body is left to decompose, and is typically eaten by natural scavengers e.g. vultures.
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Terramation is similar to promession, as the body is transformed into a natural compound. Instead of being transformed into fertilizer, the body is transformed into normal soil. It is referred to as ‘human composting’, and has a range of ecological benefits.
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A memorial sculpture/bench is a common method of memorial, for families that wish to have a set place they can visit, in order to feel closer to their departed loved ones. These sculptures/benches will often have a unique inscription, and will be placed in an area of significance.
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Burial pods are an emerging method of burial, that involves a body being placed within a natural ‘pod’. The pod includes the root of a sapling, and as the body decomposes, it provides nutrients for the sapling to grow into a tree. The tree will then serve as a reminder of the person’s life.
Infinity burial suit
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Another emerging burial method is the infinity burial suit. This method consists of a suit that is made from organic cotton, which is embedded with a specific type of fungi. A person is buried within the suit, and as their body decomposes, it provides nutrients to the fungi; which go on to distribute said nutrients into the surrounding environment.
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