Since very ancient times, respect fort he dead and belief in an after life have formed the basis of burial customs. Burial customs vary on the basis of religious beliefs. Burail could be inside or outside settlement, and basically there were twp systems; Burning the dead (cremation) and burying the deceased without burning (inhumation). The aim of the burning was to make the soul and the body thoroughly separate. When the dead person was burned, the ashes could either be directly buried or sometimes put in the special pots. At first, they were placed in small coffins made of srone or mable and called Osthotech.
Inhumation burials also vary in the way in which the dead was laid. In this type of burial, the dead could either be directly buried or put in terracotta pittoi or sarcophagi. One of the earliest examples of this kind of burial was found in Catalhöyük. In this case, the burials were under a rased bank of earth in the dwelling. The possion of the body in called hocker, the position of the embryo. We see this type later in pithos burials. Also ther were some examples directly buried in the hocker position.
One of the common grave forms is the sarcophagus. Early forms of the sarcophagus were made of terracotta, then during and after the archaicperiod we observe that Stone and marble were used as a material. This kind of tomb was very common, particularly in the Hellenistic and Roman period.
The type of the tomb reveals information about the owner of the tomb and his position in society. Common people were directly buried, and some times stone plaques, brick or roof tiles were put over the body. By accumulating earth over the grave chamber articificial mounds, called Tumulus; were ceated for kings and royal family. For important people, as architectural atuructures, monumental graves were constructed.
The tombs of the Byzantine period, Inhumation and mostly direct burails in the ground, show no great variety. Islamic graves are also buried in the ground.
It was a common custom to leave some small objects and gifts in the grave untill the Byzantine period. It was also common to leave some vessels over the top of the grave and stelai, in order to show the status of the grave owner. Stelai differ accoding to the region and the period. There are grave Stones in Islamic graves. Large wadded turban and turbans on the Islamic grave stones reveal the profession and the social status of the deceased.
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