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Funeral Service Glossary - Burial
Burial: placing of a dead body in an underground chamber – earth burial – interment.
Cemetery: an area of ground set aside for burial or entombment of the deceased.
Cenotaph: an empty tomb or monument erected in honor of a person or group of persons whose remains are elsewhere.
Columbarium: building or structure containing vaults lined with recesses to house urns holding cremated remains.
Crypt: room or vault used for keeping remains.
Disinter or Exhume: to dig up or remove remains from a burial place.
Entombment: the ritual placing of a corpse in a grave.
Grave: Excavation into the earth for purpose of burying the deceased.
Grave Liner or Vault: a receptacle made of concrete, metal or wood into which the casket is placed as an extra precaution in protecting the remains from the elements.
Grave or Memorial Marker: a method of identifying the occupant of a particular grave. Permanent grave markers are usually of metal or stone which gives such data as the name of the individual, date and place of birth, and date and place of death.
Green Burial or Direct Burial: environmentally-friendly burial of a body without chemical preservation in a simple container to preserve the earth. May include any or all of the following: a small gathering in a natural setting, use of only recycled paper products, locally-grown organic flowers, carpooling, organic food, no embalming or embalming with formaldehyde-free products, the use of sustainable biodegradable clothing, shroud or casket, and natural or green burial; see natural burial.
Interment: act of burying a body in a grave.
Lowering Device: a mechanism used for lowering the casket into the grave. Apparatus is placed over the open grave which has two or more straps to support the casket over the opening. Upon release of the mechanism, the straps unwind from a cylinder and slowly lower the casket into the grave.
Mausoleum: a public or private building especially designed to receive entombments. A permanent above ground resting place for the dead.
Natural Burial: natural or green burial, the body is buried, without embalming, in a natural setting; any shroud or casket that is used must be biodegradable, nontoxic, and of sustainable material; traditional standing headstones are not permitted. Instead, flat rocks, plants or trees may serve as grave markers; see also green burial.
Opening and Closing Fees: fees the cemetery charges for digging and refilling a grave.
Outer Burial Container: a rigid container that protects caskets from the weight of the soil; they are often required by cemeteries because they prevent the soil from collapsing into the grave following interment; also called a vault or grave liner.
Plot: a specific area of ground in a cemetery that is owned by a family or individual. Usually a plot contains two or more graves.
Tomb: chamber excavated from rock or earth to receive human remains.
Vault: a burial chamber underground or partly so. Also defines the outside metal or concrete casket container.