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The body or cremains can be placed in a cemetery plot, mausoleum crypt or family crypt. Cremains can go in a columbarium niche, garden niche, be kept or scattered.

Cemetery Plot

A cemetery plot allows for a traditional burial of the body or cremains in the earth. In some cemeteries, a single gravesite may accommodate more than one casket. Generally you may also bury a casket and an urn with cremains in the same plot.


A mausoleum is a building with enclosed spaces to place caskets above the ground. Each space is called a crypt. One crypt generally can hold one casket plus a cremation urn. There are also double-sized crypts that will hold two caskets. Mausoleums are often located on cemetery grounds.

Family Crypt

A family crypt is a large cemetery plot with a small structure that can hold several caskets and urns. This is a more expensive option, since you will be paying for the additional cost of the structure. It does allow several members of a family to place their remains in the same location.


A columbarium is a structure with small enclosed spaces to place urns containing cremated remains (cremains). Each space is called a niche. The columbarium can be located within a mausoleum building. Some churches have a columbarium in their building or on their grounds.

Garden Niche

A garden niche is similar to a columbarium, but is located in an outdoor structure resembling a wall with many small doors. Churches and universities may also have garden niches for their members or alumni.

Scattering Cremains

The cremains (ashes) can also be scattered in a variety of locations, depending upon state or local laws. Popular locations for scattering ashes include the ocean or other body of water, in a forest, on private property, or another spot with special meaning for the deceased or their family. Some churches have a memorial garden where cremains from many people can be scattered.

Other options include keeping some or all of the cremains in an urn at your home, or incorporating them into an artistic object, such as blown glass, jewelry, an oil painting, or a statue.

Related Issues
Burial or cremation
Caskets and urns
Funeral home services
Markers and the epitaph
Organ, tissue, and whole body donation

Reader Comments (1)

  1. Please also mention natural cemeteries where remains or cremains are buried in a natural (as compared with manicured) setting. These cemeteries are being opened in many areas of the country. They require that there be no chemicals (no embalming), burial in an untreated pine box or in a natural fiber shroud. Check out

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