Tracing the Evolution of Cremation

Posted on May 22, 2023 by Bagozzi Twins Funeral Home under blog, cremations
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cremation services in Van Buren, NYCremation has been a part of human history for thousands of years, with its roots tracing back to ancient civilizations and various cultural and religious practices. As societies have evolved, so too has the process, with advancements in technology and changing cultural norms shaping its development. Exploring the fascinating history of where cremation services in Van Buren, NY started from its ancient beginnings to the modern practices we see today.

From Ancient Rituals to Modern Practices

The history dates back thousands of years, with evidence of the practice found in various ancient civilizations:

  • Stone Age: Archaeological findings suggest that it was practiced as early as the Stone Age, with discoveries of the remains in pottery vessels and other burial sites.
  • Ancient Greece: It was a common practice in ancient Greece, with the ashes of the deceased often placed in decorative urns and buried or placed in a family tomb. Notably, the process of warriors was common, as evidenced by the funeral pyres described in Homer’s Iliad.
  • Roman Empire: During the Roman Empire, it became the dominant burial practice, with cremated remains often placed in ornate urns or columbaria, which were communal burial structures.
  • Middle Ages: The rise of Christianity led to a decline in the practice of the said services, as the belief in the bodily resurrection made inhumation (burial) the preferred method for disposing of the deceased.

It experienced a resurgence in the 19th and 20th centuries, with the modern process movement taking shape in Europe and North America. This revival was driven in part by concerns about public health and sanitation, as well as changing social and cultural attitudes towards death and burial practices.

Technological Advancements

Over the centuries, the process has been refined and transformed through technological advancements:

  • Ancient methods: In ancient times, this kind of process typically involved the use of an open-air funeral pyre, where the deceased’s body was placed on a wooden structure and set alight. This process was labor-intensive and required significant quantities of wood.
  • 19th-century innovations: The modern process movement saw the development of more efficient and controlled methods for cremating remains. In 1873, Italian Professor Ludovico Brunetti showcased his chamber at the Vienna Exposition, which used gas to create a high-temperature environment for a more effective process. This innovation laid the groundwork for the development of modern chambers.
  • Modern chambers: Today’s chambers, or retorts, use natural gas or propane to generate temperatures of around 1,400 to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. The process is carefully monitored and controlled to ensure efficiency, safety, and respect for the deceased.cremation services in Van Buren, NY

Cultural and Religious Influence

This process has been influenced by various cultural and religious practices throughout history, with different traditions shaping its development:

  • Hinduism: In Hinduism, it is considered an essential part of the soul’s journey to the next life. The practice, known as “antyesti” or “last sacrifice,” typically involves an open-air funeral pyre and is performed with specific rituals and prayers.
  • Buddhism: It is also common in Buddhist traditions, with the Buddha himself having been cremated. The process is seen as a way to purify the deceased’s remains and release their spirit.
  • Zoroastrianism: The Zoroastrian faith prohibits inhumation due to the belief that burying the deceased contaminates the earth. Instead, they traditionally practiced “sky burial,” where the deceased’s remains were placed in high, open structures called “towers of silence” to be exposed to the elements and consumed by birds. However, in modern times, some Zoroastrian communities have adopted this process as an alternative method of disposition.
  • Native American tribes: Some Native American tribes practiced cremation as part of their burial customs. For example, the Huron people of the Great Lakes region built funeral pyres near water to cremate their deceased, believing that the smoke would carry the spirit to the afterlife.
  • Modern secular society: In contemporary secular societies, the choice is often influenced by factors such as cost, environmental concerns, and personal preferences. It become increasingly popular in recent decades, with more people choosing this method of disposition for its flexibility and simplicity.


The evolution of cremation is a fascinating journey through time, tradition, and technology. From its ancient origins to its contemporary practice, cremation services in Van Buren, NY has been shaped by diverse cultural and religious influences, as well as technological advancements that have refined the process. Today, it is a widely accepted and increasingly popular method of disposition, offering an alternative to traditional burial practices specially in Bagozzi Twins Funeral Home, Inc. As our understanding of history and development deepens, we can appreciate the rich tapestry of human experience and beliefs that have contributed to this enduring practice. You can contact us at (315) 468-2431 for more information.


Bagozzi Twins Funeral Home

Serving families in Solvay, NY, the Greater Syracuse area, and all of Central New York for over 90 years, we are honored to have earned many awards for service excellence and customer satisfaction.

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