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Why are people buried six feet underground?


Why are graves dug exactly six feet underground? Why not seven or five?

1665 day(s) ago

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cabbagehead
The six foot depth we associate with graves comes from a law enacted in England during the black plague. At the time it was thought that the plague was spread by contact with corpses, not the fleas that lived on them. By burying corpses deep in the ground, it was though the "bad airs" rising from the corpse wouldn't be able to reach the living.

Today there is no current standard for grave depth. Most places require bodies to be placed in a sealed vault to prevent remains from mixing with the soil, making the depth of the burial irrelevant. It's also common practice to stack coffins for mass graves, such as a husband and wife plot. If the "six foot" rule is applied, one casket will be buried more than six feet under, and the second less than six feet.

In places near the coast, the water table may be close to the surface, so corpses buried six feet underground would slowly float away. In New Orleans, the water table is only two feet underground, forcing all dead to be buried above ground. Today, many of the Big Easy's older graveyards have become tourist attractions, whether it's to see the fine sculptures or leave offerings to Voodoo Queen Marie Tussaud.

Posted 1665 day ago

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