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A Brief History of Cremation

by Sarah Hill

in Cremation

Cremation is a practice widely used all over the world today but the earliest record of cremation is from over 20,000 years. Three sets of fossils were found at Mungo Lake in Australia. The first set, known as Mungo Lady, shows signs of being burned, smashed, and burned again. A proposed explanation of this is a ritual to make sure the dead are in fact dead and to keep them from coming back to haunt the descendants.

In the time between the Mungo Lady and now, many things have happened to cremation. Some civilizations, like the Early Persians, practiced cremation but then prohibited it during later generations. Many civilizations including the Phoenicians adopted both cremation and burial. Christianity frowned upon cremation and tried to abolish it’s presence in Europe. During the Middle Ages cremation was against the law in parts of Europe and sometimes used a punishment by the authorities.

Over the past 200 years the process of cremation has been perfected by science and is a widely accepted alternative to burial.

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