The History of Cremation Urns

Posted by Mary Jane on Nov 7th 2017

Cremation has a longer history than most people expect. Although some religions prefer burial over cremation, the practice of cremation existed at the dawn of human civilization. It’s becoming a popular method of death ceremony today due to increasing environmental awareness and overcrowding population.

Cremation practices date back to the early Stone Age around 3,000 B.C., as archaeologists found cremation to be a popular way to dispose a deceased body at that time. Simple but decorative pottery urns were found in Europe and some places near Asia. The practice continued into the Bronze Age from 2,500 B.C. to 1,000 B.C. when cemeteries were developed in Hungary, northern Italy, and some parts of Northern Europe.

In the Mycenaean Age (1,600 B.C. – 1,100 B.C.), Homer wrote of burial of the ashes in his poems. Greece was in a perpetual state of war and cremation was a quicker, and more hygienic way to handle the bodies of dead soldiers. Some even believed that burning of the body would set the soul free. Following the Grecian trend, the Roman empire also practiced cremation until Constantine’s Christianization around 400 A.D.

The rise of Christianity discouraged cremation because it was seen as pagan. For thousands of years after, earth burials almost completely took over cremations except when there were outbreaks of plagues or wars. However, modern cremation took prevalence again around late 1800’s along with new designs of cremation urns and more dependable chambers. North America and Europe began experimenting with the use of cremation almost around the same time, and the first American crematory was built in Pennsylvania in 1876.

Today, more people prefer cremation over burials because of several factors. Shrinking space, especially in highly populated cities, calls for cremations and even sea burials. Tokyo, for example, has regulations in place to enforce cremation practices only and disallow burials. Cremation is less expensive than traditional burials and it has evolved with many well-designed ash vessels.

Modern cremation urns come in a variety of materials, sizes, and shapes. You can find urns made in wood, marble, ceramic, glass, and so on. While there is a wide range of industrial urns available on the market, many prefer artisanal urns that are handmade and one-of-a-kind. Artisanal urns can serve as a beautiful remembrance, a way of showing respect for the deceased, and a dear farewell to your loved ones.