The history of cremation and ancient burial is very interesting. Scholars believe cremation has been practiced since the Stone Age, around 3000 B.C. Pottery urns have been found throughout Europe and the British Isles. They provide evidence that the practice was widespread as recent as the early Roman Empire. Although it was a common practice, certain religious cultures did not approve of cremation. When Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, the Romans ceased cremation in favor of earth burial.
Burial became the standard practice in Europe and North America and remained that way for centuries. In the late Nineteenth Century, however, cremation began to be recognized an alternative to burial once again. At the Vienna Exposition in 1873, an Italian professor named Brunetti exhibited the cremating apparatus he had built. This exhibit attracted the attention of Sir Henry Thompson. One of the forefathers of modern cremation, Sir Henry believed cremation to be more sanitary, as well as less expensive than the earth burial that had become traditional.
Crematoria were being built in Europe and the United States within a few years. This was despite opposition from Christian groups. Eventually, the Protestant and Catholic churches lifted the bans they had on cremation. There are still a few religious groups that either ban or prefer not to cremate remains. These include Orthodox and Conservative Judaism, Islam, Fundamental and Conservative Christianity, and the Baha’i Faith.
Today, people choose cremation for religious or personal beliefs, as well as of a variety of other reasons. It is not uncommon for individuals to specifically request to be cremated when they pass away. For surviving kin, it can be meaningful to keep the urn in the home, bury the urn in a family plot, or scatter the cremated remains at a special location. At Mountain View Funeral Home, we understand that you may be undecided about cremation. Our professional and compassionate staff are here to help you with any concerns or questions.