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Cremation - Essay Example

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Cremation has long been in practice and had once been the only process by which ancient men would dispose of their dead. Cremated bones thus we find, though archeologically available only in small fragmented pieces, can become the gateway through which one can travel back in time and study the culture and traditions of a society long gone and lost in the realms of time and history…
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Download file to see previous pages However the remains are not ashes in the literal sense but they are dried bone segments. Cremation leaves the bones in fine sand like texture. These bone segments left are cremation are called as cremated bones. (1986)
A place where modern day cremation occurs is called as crematorium (Cambridge , 2009). Crematorium usually consists of furnaces called as cremators and other facilities for handling of ashes. Cremation usually takes places in crematorium at very high temperatures of up to 870-980 C with special modifications to ensure the efficient disintegration of the corpse (L, 2005)
. Europe which had earlier practised cremation of bodies abandoned the rite with the advent of Christianity which forbade cremation of bodies. The custom of earth burial came into vogue. It symbolised the burial of Jesus Christ and the day of Resurrection. (Kohmescher, 1999)
However modern day Christianity permits cremation without violating its basic Christian norms and there has been a steady rise in this funerary practice form the mid 1960's especially in England , France , Italy and Switzerland.
Skin and Hair are the first parts of the body which burn when a body is put to fire. During this phase 60-70% of the total body weight which is water vaporises due to intense heat. The loss of water causes muscles and tendons of the body to shrink. (L, 2005)
When body burns further, the skeleton gets exposed when the soft underlying tissue disintegrates due to heat. Brain and ligament tissues are the last to be destroyed due to heat.
Bones are however not destroyed at this heat, their composition and structure changes as there water content and collagen is destroyed and only mineral component is left behind.
Bone crystal constantly increase in when heated up to 525 degree Celsius, and between the temperatures of 525 degree to 645 degree Celsius there is a sudden shift to a greater crystalline structure with a greater increase in the individual size of a single crystal. Above 645 degree Celsius there is no further change. After the cremation is over what remains behind are these dried out bone fragments that are altered in size and shape, both. Besides minerals these dried bone fragments also contain calcium phosphates. These cremated bone fragments are ash grey in colour and form about 2.5% (in children) to 3.5% (in adults) of the total body mass of the body. (Mays, 198)
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