Tombs continue to be an integral part of interment in almost every culture in the world. Though the concept of cremation is gaining popularity, ashes of the departed in urns are still placed in smaller tombs called columbarium, nonetheless. For hygienic reasons, tomb dimensions should be according to approved standards, either for whole body or ash-in-urn burials. Here are some common and approved grave measurements.
For Whole Body Interments
Width: Standard shoulder to shoulder width of humans is from 50 to 70 centimeters. Coffins give a .05 to .10 meter width allowances. Thus, the width of a whole-body tomb should be at least 90 centimeters to a meter. Tomb dimensions should be based on the actual measurement of the coffin used. The cemetery management should always coordinate with funeral parlors. Parlors, in turn, should always submit to local government interment standards that give allowances to fit different grave measurements.
Length: Tomb lengths are more diverse than their widths. Human widths slightly differ from person to person, but length differences are more pronounced. Thus, tomb dimensions pertaining length should be doubly checked with the actual measurements of the coffin used. From the top and bottom edges of a coffin, tomb dimensions or grave measurements should allow for at least .10 meters of extra space. Extra spaces make for easy lowering down or sliding in of coffins into tombs during burials.
Height: Tomb height should be at least .40 or .50 meters from the top of the coffin. This allows for easy adjustments during interment.
For Columbarium Burials
Niches or columbarium tombs are generally sized .50 by .50 by .70 meters. Urns containing the departed’s ashes usually fit into this size. However, tomb dimensions for a columbarium should likewise be confirmed with the actual size of the urn used, if the columbarium is yet to be built.
In most cases, the funeral agency handling the interment should notify the bereaved family about the actual size of the columbarium before settling for a particular urn. This would result to an urn size that would fit the existing columbarium. The above are two proper ways of considering grave measurements.
In some cases, bone remains are placed into a columbarium instead of ashes. These are remains from an existing whole-body tomb transferred to a columbarium. A niche volume of 80 by 80 by 80 centimeters would be fit for this purpose.
Finally, where excavations are required to bury coffins beneath the ground, the following tomb dimensions should be considered. Allow for at least .10-meter space allowances all around the tomb. Thus, if the tomb dimensions are 2 by .70 meters, the excavation should be 2.10 by .80 meters. The tomb should be buried at least 6 feet below the ground surface.