Cremation is defined as the act of disposing of a person’s body after death by burning it to bone or breaking it down into the most basic chemical elements using a liquid solution. While this may appear to some to be an extreme option today, cremations have been a part of human culture since prehistoric times. Over the centuries, the practice has also undergone several changes. To learn more, look into the cremation services in Freedom, PA.
The Greeks introduced cremation to the Western world over 3,000 years ago, but there is evidence that the practice dates back more than 10,000 years. Cremation as we know it today, on the other hand, most likely began in Europe during the Stone Age 5,000 years ago.
Around the year 3,000 B.C., cremations were taking place in parts of Northern Europe and the Middle East. Decorated urns from the late Stone Age were discovered in Russia, implying that cremations were performed in that part of the world and the remains were kept.
Cremation had spread to the rest of Europe by 2500 B.C. Cemeteries for cremated remains began to emerge around this time. The Greeks were performing elaborate cremations by the Mycenaean Age in 1000 B.C. Cremation became the primary funeral service for Grecians over the next 200 years. One of the primary reasons for the use of cremation was that the Greeks thought it was more sanitary.
During the Iron Age, cremations were the norm in Sweden and the surrounding areas. Archaeologists have discovered gravesites from that period in Scandinavia, indicating that burial was also practiced.
The Norsemen are well-known in Europe for viciously attacking and killing others, but they had very civilized funeral practices for their people. You’ve probably seen depictions of Vikings tossing the dead into a floating funeral pyre. It’s a dramatic way to bury someone, but it’s not grounded in reality. While the Norse used cremation, they also used burial and occasionally a combination of the two.
Cremation on a funeral pyre was the most common practice during the Norse Age. However, they were used on land rather than on water. There is evidence that a few floating boat pyres were used, but this was uncommon at the time and was usually reserved for high-ranking individuals such as chieftains.
The Roman Empire had a significant impact on the modern world that we live in today. However, Grecian influence was most likely responsible for the widespread use of cremation in Rome. Cremations became so common that laws were passed to prohibit them from taking place within Rome. After the body was cremated, the remains were usually placed in a decorative urn.
While the precise origins and date of the first cremation will never be known, one thing is certain. Cremation has been a common practice since the beginning of recorded history.
Today, cremations are on the rise in other countries and cultures as well. More people are expected to choose cremation over burial in the coming years as cremation technology advances and the practice becomes more widespread. If you are considering cremation, the cremation services in Freedom, PA can help. Please contact us or come and see us today.