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  #1  
Old 04-14-2006, 05:09 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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Those Above-Ground Tombs-Do They Keep Bodies fresher?

You see them in cemetaries-stone buildings with windows. In them, the caskets are entombed in stone boxes above ground. Given that they are above the ground water, does that mean that these corpses will last loger? Are we talking >100 years? Or do they turn to dust just like the bodies in the ground?
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  #2  
Old 04-14-2006, 05:48 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Key factors in keeping a body from decomposing are:

- antiseptic condition. That's why the egyptians removed the internal organs, which contain bacteria, from their mummies. Modern embalming serves much the same purpose. But this is probably about the same for in-ground burial vs. crypt burial.

- cool temperature. Burial in a crypt will vary from frozen in the winter to quite warm in the summer, while in-ground burial will be pretty consistently cool temp year-round. Not much effect either way.

- keeping out air and water. Probably the major factor. But that depends on the air- and water-tightness of the casket. And similar caskets can be used for either in-ground burial or crypt burial. Many cemetaries require vaults for in-ground burials, and they are sometimes air-tight -- that might help preserve in-ground burials longer.

But in most cases, these bodies do indeed return to dust eventually.
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  #3  
Old 04-14-2006, 08:06 PM
spingears spingears is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph124c
You see them in cemetaries-stone buildings with windows. In them, the caskets are entombed in stone boxes above ground. Given that they are above the ground water, does that mean that these corpses will last loger? Are we talking >100 years? Or do they turn to dust just like the bodies in the ground?
They are mausoleums.

mau·so·le·um Pronunciation Key (môs-lm, -z-)
n. pl. mau·so·le·ums or mau·so·le·a (-l)
1. A large stately tomb or a building housing such a tomb or several tombs.
2. A gloomy, usually large room or building.

Usually more pretensious than a large monument.

We all return to the dust of the earth unless the sun goes super nova!
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  #4  
Old 04-14-2006, 09:57 PM
Metacom Metacom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t-bonham@scc.net
- keeping out air and water. Probably the major factor. But that depends on the air- and water-tightness of the casket. And similar caskets can be used for either in-ground burial or crypt burial. Many cemetaries require vaults for in-ground burials, and they are sometimes air-tight -- that might help preserve in-ground burials longer.
You sure about this one? I've read (no cite...) that air-right caskets actually speed decomposition by promoting the growth of putrifying aneorobic bacteria.
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  #5  
Old 04-14-2006, 10:55 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Ther is no such thing as an air tight casket. Decomposition produces gases, which must have a way to vent, or the casket would rupture.
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  #6  
Old 04-14-2006, 11:02 PM
Rigamarole Rigamarole is offline
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This sounds like it would make a GREAT jingle for mausoleum builders/manufacturers.

Nothing'll keep you fresher!
Fresher whatever the weather!
Nobody does it better!
Maus-o-leeeeeeee-ums.


Or you know that Outkast song "So Fresh and So Clean"? That would work too.
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  #7  
Old 04-15-2006, 03:33 AM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metacom
You sure about this one? I've read (no cite...) that air-right caskets actually speed decomposition by promoting the growth of putrifying aneorobic bacteria.
Well, that's where the first item I mentioned (antiseptic condition) comes in. But you're right, bodies are rarely completely antiseptic.

So if a coffin is airtight, aneorobic bacteria will cause decomposition. If it's not airtight, then normal bacteria will get in and cause decomposition.

In the end, almost all bodies decompose.

All the effort in embalming, coffins, concrete vaults, etc. just makes the process take a bit longer.
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  #8  
Old 04-15-2006, 03:41 AM
Smeghead Smeghead is offline
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Originally Posted by Fear Itself
Ther is no such thing as an air tight casket. Decomposition produces gases, which must have a way to vent, or the casket would rupture.
You just have to burp it periodically.
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  #9  
Old 04-15-2006, 06:56 AM
gabriela gabriela is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t-bonham@scc.net
Well, that's where the first item I mentioned (antiseptic condition) comes in. But you're right, bodies are rarely completely antiseptic.

So if a coffin is airtight, aneorobic bacteria will cause decomposition. If it's not airtight, then normal bacteria will get in and cause decomposition.

In the end, almost all bodies decompose.

All the effort in embalming, coffins, concrete vaults, etc. just makes the process take a bit longer.
Bodies are never completely antiseptic. Except for fetuses, who have sterile meconium. But even they are coated with bacteria shortly after exiting the sterile womb.

(That's if the womb was sterile. Premature rupture of membranes / ascending amniotic infection, anyone?)

Everyone else other than fetuses contains shit, at ten to the tenth bacteria per ml.

Trust me. Even when the rest all mummifies, short of the use of Egyptian embalming techniques, the guts still putrefy.

Modern embalming does not take the guts out. Sloshes some formaldehyde around the peritoneal cavity and lets the bugs within the guts do what they will. Ergo, nobody's sterile. The bugs eventually make their way out to less embalmed tissues.

We occasionally have to autopsy embalmed bodies and I must say the quality of the embalming varies tremendously. Some are so stiff with formaldehyde that the belly skin hasn't even turned green, and others go on decomposing on the autopsy table.
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  #10  
Old 04-15-2006, 07:06 AM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rigamarole
This sounds like it would make a GREAT jingle for mausoleum builders/manufacturers.

Nothing'll keep you fresher!
Fresher whatever the weather!
Nobody does it better!
Maus-o-leeeeeeee-ums.


Or you know that Outkast song "So Fresh and So Clean"? That would work too.
Quote:
Those Above-Ground Tombs-Do They Keep Bodies fresher?
I was thinking a ziplock-type bag commercial....
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"He is an abomination of science that curdles the milk of all honest men!"~~One Dr Chouteh, possibly commenting on Bosda Di'Chi.Or not.
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  #11  
Old 04-15-2006, 10:31 AM
Gfactor Gfactor is offline
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1. No. They don't keep a body fresher.
2. If I dug up a Body . . . Cecil on decomposition
3. http://www.deathonline.net/decomposition/index.htm Australian Museum online exhibit on decomposition
4. http://www.experienceneworleans.com/deadcity.html discussion of Mausoleums in New Orleans
5. Carlson, Lisa, Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998) discusses a case where a coffin was completely sealed. She points out that the "seal" on modern caskets is really a one-way gasket, designed to avoid the accumulation of gas.
6. http://www.who.or.id/eng/contents/ac...20cadavers.pdf (pdf) more than you ever wanted to know about the contents of caskets that get dug up.
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  #12  
Old 04-18-2006, 10:33 AM
Gfactor Gfactor is offline
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I did find this:

Quote:
Coffins provide the first and sometimes the only line of defense against the elements for buried human remains, and different varieties of coffins convey different levels of protection. The intricate lead-lined metal coffins popular during the Civil War era can preserve bones and even soft tissues remarkably well. Above-ground vaults have the same effects on their occupants, primarily because they protect the remains from water. At the other extreme, cardboard coffins were frequently used in the past for pauper burials and offered little protection. A wide range of coffin types exists between these extremes, and variables such as basic design, type of wood, the use of paints, and the types of nails used can all alter a skeleton's chance for survival over time.
(Emphasis added).

http://archlab.uindy.edu/Nawrocki1991.html
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  #13  
Old 04-18-2006, 10:56 AM
vetbridge vetbridge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gabriela
We occasionally have to autopsy embalmed bodies and I must say the quality of the embalming varies tremendously. Some are so stiff with formaldehyde that the belly skin hasn't even turned green, and others go on decomposing on the autopsy table.
I have added you to my "List of Folks I Would Never Trade Jobs With".
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  #14  
Old 04-18-2006, 11:35 AM
lieu lieu is offline
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"Those Above-Ground Tombs-Do They Keep Bodies fresher?"

Regardless, you're still probably going to want to check the expiration date.
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  #15  
Old 04-19-2006, 08:51 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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Does your decomposing corpse ever have that... not-so-fresh feeling?
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  #16  
Old 04-19-2006, 03:41 PM
gabriela gabriela is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vetbridge
I have added you to my "List of Folks I Would Never Trade Jobs With".
Aw, c'mon. It's fun in there.
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  #17  
Old 04-19-2006, 04:24 PM
Odesio Odesio is offline
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You guys have failed to address the most important question. Which method of burial seals in the flavor?

Marc
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  #18  
Old 04-19-2006, 06:54 PM
vetbridge vetbridge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gabriela
Aw, c'mon. It's fun in there.
Ya know, I've done PMs on dogs that were out in the sun a few days before they were found. It's not something I "enjoy", but I am not repulsed either. Just a part of the job. But there is something different (in my mind) when it is a human.

Years ago I passed on the chance to watch the video of my cholecystectomy. I woulda if it were someone else, but I was icked by the thought of viewing inside my own peritoneum. *shivers*

I've met Cyril Wecht, doess that count?
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