burial customs
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Every culture has its unique approach to the interment of the dead. Today some of these customs appear quite foreign and bizarre. The process of burial in the Early Roman Period took place in two stages.

First the dead person was placed on a ledge or in a loculus of a rock-hewn tomb. Later, after about a year, when the body had decomposed, family members of the deceased, presumably women, returned to the tomb, gathered the bones and put them into a small box of limestone or wood called an ossuary

The reason for such a custom was practical-religious since the bones were the only remains after a determined period of time. Hence, they were considered an extremely important symbol of the deceased person. Moreover, space in the tombs had to be conserved promoting the use of the ossuary over the sarcophagus.

Page last edited: 02/02/06 05:56 PM

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