How did 6 feet become the depth for burial?

subject says it all…

I’m guessing it was supposed to be 10 or 12 feet. After 2 hours of hand digging they were like, “Whew! Six feet oughta be enough, huh?”

I got nothin’…

Except, of course, for lawyers.

They bury lawyers 15 feet underground instead of 6.

Because deep down, they’re real nice people.

:: d&r ::

Huh. Googled for 10 minutes and got nothing. Tried and got the answer on the first hit . Yay alternate search engines.

Just kidding! I love you google. No! Don’t leave!

It might be so as to have the body below the frost line in regions where it freezes in the winter.

That’s my WAG, anyway.

I understood it to be because animals won’t dig through 6 feet of ground to feed on a carcass.

Because if grave diggers go much deeper, they would need a ladder to get out of the grave.

A man was walking in a graveyard on a moonless night, when he stepped into an open grave. He tried and tried, but couldn’t climb out. Eventually he sat in a dark corner. Shortly, another man fell into the grave. He tried and tried, but couldn’t get out. The first man said gravely, ‘You’ll never get out!’ But he did! :eek:

‘Dammit, Carl! We’ve been digging for hours! We’re five and a half feet down! Let’s give up.’


Think: “Spooky”. :rolleyes:

Hopeless Nitpickery:

I like the frostline theory myself. It’d be annoying to have to rebury every few years.

Different areas have different required burial depths. Most USA sites require ceament burrial vaults also to bevent subsidence. Air tight caskets eventualy fail, so even with modern caskets smell is a consideration, as is health risks. The frost line is a consideration as is floating away in a flood.

Maybe some professionals can speak up.

I believe that dogs, jackals, hyenas & the like were the primary issue.

The spelling is a secret code. Save your time people it’s unbreakable

Sounds like the drunk who took a shortcut through the cemetary one night and fell into an open grave. Another drunk taking the same shortcut came along a short time later, and heard him moaning from the bottom or the grave, “I’m cold, I’m sooo cold!”. The second drunk replied, “Well of course you are, you’ve gone and kicked all your covers off!”

An old friend of mine worked for a year as a grave digger. He told me that Indiana law specifies four feet, not six. Frost heave might be a concern around Fort Wayne, but in Evansville, frost is a rare thing.

Okay, I did some more digging and found a better source.

Daniel Defoe wrote a Journal of the Plague Year about various edicts passed in London in 1665 in an attempt to control the plague. This one:

“And that no corpse dying of infection shall be buried, or remain in any church in time of common prayer, sermon, or lecture. And that no children be suffered at time of burial of any corpse in any church, churchyard, or burying-place to come near the corpse, coffin, or grave. And that all the graves shall be at least six feet deep.”

not only sticks around as our current idea of grave depths, but also other unspoken burial practices like not bringing children, and not having the burial during a public service. At least, those were taboo in my family. My mom caught a lot of flak from relatives for taking me to my grandmother’s funeral when I was 3.

So apparently the whole 6 feet thing was just a nice round number that was probably deep enough to keep the bodies from spreading disease. The edicts also have details about not keeping clothing or bedding from the infected person, not going to infected people’s houses, etc.

He climbed up the other guy.

Just a guess, but nothing to do with being easy to measure? For example, wouldn’t most coffins be 6 feet long? As soon as you can stand the coffin on its end, you know you have the right depth?

I’m sure there were/are better ways to measure depth…