Social Question

rojo's avatar

Why don't we change our traditions and bury people vertically?

Asked by rojo (14600 points ) February 9th, 2013

We have done it in the past. We no longer stick you up on a scaffold or build a big bonfire around you. And, if I am not mistaken in Europe in the past your family had to keep paying for the plot otherwise they dug you up and put what was left into a charnel house and resold your old resting place.

Figuring a 3×3 rectangular plot for a 30” diameter shaft, you could bury approximately three people in the space now reserved for one. We do it in a horizontal format in Mausoleums.
It would be a lot easier to get a pier driller into and out of the cemetery than that ol’ backhoe they use now. Dig a 10 deep hole, slide in that cylindrical coffin and boom. Easy backfill and settling repair And, you could get some very nice round tombstones placed level with the ground to facilitate easy mowing AND they can be placed to make a very attractive stepping stone walkway.
No one (or very few anyway) care anymore about whether they are facing East to watch the rising sun. And we all know they are not really “sleeping” so don’t need to be on their back.
So, why not?

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26 Answers

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Yes, makes sense. It might just become the burial practice of the future!

wundayatta's avatar

Because space is still very affordable for those who want a plot. People who don’t want to spend much money cremate the remains of loved ones.

Kropotkin's avatar

Health and safety regulations prevent grave diggers from digging a hole deep enough. It’s those damn government regulations.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Head first or feet first?

Symbeline's avatar

I’m of the mind that interment practices include a lot of tradition and symbolic importance. Enough so that anyone who cares to be buried/have a loved one being buried probably wouldn’t want to stray too far away from their culture’s known practices. Your idea isn’t a bad one, but it seems just a little cold. I understand the dead don’t ’‘sleep’’ or need to face a certain way, but burial has to have a bit of some meaning, and not just be left to convenience…and, wait what? Using tombstones as stepping stones??
Ye gods man!
Interment is supposed to show respect, and honor the deceased, you don’t step on their graves, man…
Cremation pretty much solves that problem, saves space, isn’t too costly, and the spirit behind it remains the same as if you buried them. Ashes to ashes and alla dat. Mind you, visiting an urn or having it in your living room seems a bit odd. But it seems to work, and many seem fine with this.

Coloma's avatar

It is a great idea, and I think they should be buried upside down with clown masks as well. Why not make burials more humorous?
I vote for vertical burials with stand up comedians becoming the norm at memorial services.
I’m going for the ashes to ashes thing myself.

I have never liked the idea of having an actual grave site that is some sort of icon as to my existence. I was here, now I am gone, just cremate me and scatter me to the winds immortal.
My fathers gravestone reads ” Still doin’ pretty good.” Now THAT is the wave of mortuary futures.
I’m pretty sure he would have gone in head first, and being an architect he liked innovative design. lol

Pachy's avatar

Since my fellow jellies have done such a good job answering this question, I’ll just say because “laid to rest” sounds better than “stood to rest.”

Bellatrix's avatar

We can do this in Australia now. Apparently the first ‘vertical’ burial ground has been established in Darlinghurst, Melbourne and in 2008 already had 100 takers. This is a website for a company that has established an upright cemetery (also in Victoria).

Personally I would prefer to be cremated and to take up no space, but I would be happy with this as an option if for some reason cremation or burial at sea wasn’t available. It gives those who might want to ‘visit’ me a place to go and really makes no difference to me at all.

marinelife's avatar

It belies the idea of eternal rest.

CWOTUS's avatar

Why don’t we change our traditions and stop burying bodies in expensive caskets sealed inside concrete vaults in the first place?

We could render them and use the fat for fuel, for one thing. The meat would make fine pet food, too.

wundayatta's avatar

Not to mention People Chow.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I think people like to think of at rest as lying down.

Adagio's avatar

@wundayatta “People who don’t want to spend much money cremate the remains of loved ones.”
You may be right of course but there are plenty of other reasons for being cremated, taking up less room would be my reason for wanting to be cremated. I would like some kind of place people could go to spend time with me if they want, not somewhere to bury my ashes, I would prefer them scattered somewhere significant to me.

As for vertical burial, why not.

ucme's avatar

“He was a good man, a real stand up guy.”

elbanditoroso's avatar

Of course, burying a persona vertically may potentially mean that the corpse’s feet are closer to the water table beneath the ground.

Bellatrix's avatar

I totally agree @Adagio. My preference for cremation has nothing to do with cost. I would rather my ashes were spread around the base of a beautiful tree or in a river or the ocean. As long as those who might need to visit me know where that place is I think that’s as valid as a plot in a cemetary.

Earthgirl's avatar

Geez! what the hell is happening on Fluther these past 2 days? I keep reading about death, burial, and suicide…it so happens I am going to a burial on Monday so it’s very topical for me.
I don’t like the idea of vertical burials. I know it makes perfect sense from a practical viewpoint, but I am not really one to go with a decsiion based on practicality. There is something very intensely personal about the tradition of being laid to rest. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe you’re dead and gone and WTF does it matter, but I care. For some weird reason I care about what happens to my body after I’m gone. Maybe no one will visit my grave, maybe they’ll forget me, maybe all that matters is how I live on in their minds and hearts, but some part of me cannot let go of the idea of the whole funeral and graveyard,,,,maybe it’s just my poetic sense? Maybe I just love tradition? And of course, I am not alone in this. So we keep burying people as we have always done. Ashes scattered tp the four winds may appeal to some more than the worms crawling in and out….but not me….I’ll take the worms.

Shippy's avatar

I do think it is a good idea. But also I find burial wrong all round. Earth is for the living.

wundayatta's avatar

@Adagio Space is not an issue. There is plenty of burial space available for everyone who thinks it is important enough to spend the money necessary to get a space they’d be happy having their loved ones interred in. If we seriously are concerned about space, we should think about eliminating parking lots. Those spaces create water runoff problems in addition to taking up space.

But of course, we have plenty of parking space, too. Like I said, space is not a problem.

fremen_warrior's avatar

One word: ZOMBIES.

Sunny2's avatar

It’s easier to walk over a grave imagining the person in a casket lying down. Somehow, imagining the corpse with its head under your foot is a bit eerie.
From a practical point of view, it’s harder to dig 10 feet down, especially when the earth is frozen.
I look forward to the day when we can just change the dead body to a harmless gas and release it while flying over uninhabited land or something. I always wanted my ashes dug into our blueberry bushes. But then we moved. I’ll have to find something else to be dug into to fertilize it. A compost patch maybe.

Arewethereyet's avatar

This is what i wrote in a prev thread
” I used to think I’d be cremated but after much thought I’m going with a simple low carbon sarcophagus, Ecopod and sequestering my carbon in the ground. I’m in Australia and at present it’s quite difficult to have woodland burial as most need to be in traditional cemeteries, but i will continue to research options.”

A friend’s father recently died and had the woodland burial, in a paper tube, out in the western districts, probably the place Bella mentioned. They use post diggers ie for bridge construction to get the depth, and yes he was planted standing up! Looks like we’ll be neighbours someday! Things are looking up in burial progressiveness!

Sunny2's avatar

I’ve decided to give my body to the nearest medical school that wants to dissect me. I may still be of some use after my demise.

Arewethereyet's avatar

I’d make sure you stipulate what use you like to donate for as the things they do with cadavers can be extremely varied in the name of medical science :)

Sunny2's avatar

In college I took an anatomy class that used the leftovers from the med school anatomy classes. The arms and legs we used had the muscles severed so we had to find the origin and insertion of each muscle in order to identify it. It was pretty gruesome. However, as a cadaver, I would have no idea what was happening and if someone can learn something from my dead body, so be it. Seems like a fitting ending for someone who was a teacher of science and biology, among other subjects.

Arewethereyet's avatar

It does sound like a full circle @Sunny2 :)

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