MUST READ: Reasons why dead bodies are buried six feet deep? - SyCtRenDs

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Friday, September 14, 2018

MUST READ: Reasons why dead bodies are buried six feet deep?


Why are bodies specifically buried six feet deep? Why THAT number?
Seven elders and professors gave clear answer to this question. I hope that after reading this,  you will understand fully why its always 6 feet and no other number.

First Answer
I went to one burial in London in 1988 when it was found that although payment had been taken for a 4 person grave, number 3 had taken up more than expected. So they ‘buried’ the last coffin about 4″ (100mm) deep! I queried it and was assured it was ok as they use a concrete topping and a “topper” (a pre-cast concrete cover with a decorative top plus small monument).
A body left on the surface uncovered can decompose very quickly( less than a week), but not as fast as it can if immersed in water. It's dependent on oxygen and water content levels.
Buried, it will take considerably longer. Depth of burial has a direct correlation on decomposition time. The deeper the longer, in general, it takes.
What's the importance of that? Time is only relevant to those still alive. People who loved the deceased person/pet like to remember them as they were when alive. So the tendency is to want to keep their loved ones bodies as ‘lifelike’ as possible, for as long as possible.
As to why six feet? It's simply extremely difficult to make a hole that is deeper than that without special equipment.
Second Answer
It's not an "optimal" depth, it's due to historical reasons. Read this article:
How Did 6 Feet Become the Standard Grave Depth?
DR: 6' started with the plague in the 17th century London. Basically you don't want soil erosion or scavengers exposing the graves. These days, as before, the actual depth varies.
Third Answer
It’s an arbitrary number dating back to the 1600’s and an outbreak of the Plague in London, you can find the first mention of “six feet deep” in “Orders conceived and published by the Lord Major and aldermen of the city of London, concerning the infection of the plague”. These days, there are places in the States and elsewhere that only require 18 inches of dirt atop the casket or vault, and many times that’s because of a high water table or bedrock very close to the surface.
Matter for local and or State law, plus cemetery regulations.
In Texas, there is no regulation about the bottom of the grave. But the top must be covered by 2 feet of soil. 1.5 feet if the coffin is enclosed in a metal or concrete vault.
This will give a total depth of around 5 feet. I have worked with a few small rural cemeteries that required 6 feet, but it has been very rare.
The reason for specifying the top covering rather than the bottom death is, I believe, for enforcement.
To check if a grave is dug 6 feet deep, the inspector needs to be there at the time. And of course a shoddy operation will do that ONE correctly, before going back to their slipshod ways.
But if the law says how much soil is over the top, all the inspector needs is a metal rod and a hammer. He can very easily drive that rod down until it touches something, then check the depth. Easy to check many random graves to see that the crew has been doing right.
Of course, laws in other places will likely differ. Texas is the only place I have worked, and the only state in which I have been licensed.

Fourth Answer
During the times of the Bubonic plague the mayor of London decreed that all bodies were to be buried 6 feet under soil in an attempt to limit further spread of the disease.
This of course didn’t slow down progression but you can’t blame people of that time for thinking the more distance you put the corpse, the less chance you have of catching the disease.
Because this was in the mid 1600’s and Britain was beginning to hit it’s stride, populating new land masses and bringing their culture to conflict with others, it wouldn’t be a surprise if this became custom.
Fifth Answer
I have been present at some exhumations for my job. One thing I was surprised at was how shallowly the coffins were under the surface of the ground. These were in ‘modern’ cemeteries.
6 feet deep is how deep they dig the hole.. the coffin is placed in that hole- the coffin being at around 2 feet- then there was a concrete vault (to keep from collapsing in future- required by some cemeteries). They are actually only about ‘3 feet under’ the surface.
Others have answered your question of why- but I wanted to clarify that they are not actually under 6 feet of earth.
Sixth Answer
4 or 5 feet is the min depth to protect a body from animals digging it up, smell wafting up from the grave or infectious agents from potentially reaching the topsoil and infecting people. There’s an extra foot or two for a margin of safety. It’s not much more because digging a grave by hand is hard work. So you don’t dig any farther than you have too in order to give a decent burial. After a while it became a round number and tradition. Today with concrete and plastic liners in graves and the sealed caskets commonly used we could bury people in 3 or 4 feet of dirt but it’s tradition to use 6.
Seventh Answer
Most animals won't dig that deep, and the rotten smell of decomposition has more soil microbes to process it. Could be part of the same answer... the animals don't dig because the smell is less enticing.
In cases of rustic burial like this, one might ask if it would be fair enough to feed the animals. Certainly not in a cemetery, but in a transient situation. The Old West or mass exodus, for instance. Those type graves are probably more shallow. Time and exhaustion could factor in. Some cultures let birds and jackals feast, or throw to sharks. But that's a rare thing in the modern world!


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