Burial Ground

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burial ground

[′ber·ē·əl ‚grau̇nd]
A place for burying unwanted radioactive objects to prevent escape of their radiations, the earth acting as a shield. Also known as graveyard.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Burial Ground


in archaeology, a place for the burial of the dead. Ancient Greek and Roman burial grounds are usually called necropolises, and Christian and Moslem places of burial, cemeteries. The first burials of the dead appeared in the Paleolithic period; however, at that time, they were performed directly at the habitation sites rather than in places set aside for that purpose.

Actual burial grounds appeared in the Mesolithic. Burials were performed according to established funerary rites, which were connected with the culture’s conception of the afterlife. Various objects (“grave goods”) were placed in the grave with the deceased; such as clothing, weapons, ornaments, household vessels and utensils, food, and the carcasses of sacrificed animals. Sometimes, persons dependent on the deceased were sacrificed and buried in the same grave with the deceased (for example, at Kul’-Oba and in the Melitopol’ Kurgan).

Two types of burials are distinguished in burial grounds: inhumation and cremation. In the latter the deceased was burned and the ashes then buried. The burial structures that were used at different times by different tribes and peoples are infinitely varied, for example, simple earthen pits, pits lined with wood or stone, catacombs, vaults, and huge burial structures, such as pyramids and mausoleums. The dead or their ashes were buried in vessels (urns), cists, or wooden frames. According to external appearance, burial grounds are usually divided into barrow burial grounds, which are marked by mounds of earth or stone, or flat-grave burial grounds (without mounds). Burial grounds with both barrows and flat graves are also encountered.

The archaeological study of a burial ground yields a wealth of material not only about an ancient population’s religious beliefs but also about other aspects of its life, including the material culture, everyday life, the economy, production and trade, family and social relationships, and art. In addition, excavations of burial grounds supply material for paleoanthropology and provide museums with ancient fully preserved objects, which are seldom encountered in investigations of settlements.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Burial Ground

potter’s field; burial place for strangers. [N. T.: Matthew 27:6–10, Acts 1:18–19]
Alloway graveyard
where Tam O’Shanter saw witches dancing among opened coffins. [Br. Lit.: Burns Tam O’Shanter in Benét, 985]
Arlington National Cemetery
final resting place for America’s war heroes. [Am. Hist.: Flexner, 95]
Boot Hill
Tombstone, Arizona’s graveyard, where gunfighters are buried. [Am. Hist.: Flexner, 178]
Campo Santo
famous cemetery in Pisa, with Gothic arcades and Renaissance frescoes. [Ital. Hist.: Collier’s, XV, 433]
Castel Sant’Angelo
built in Rome by Hadrian as an imperial mausoleum. [Rom. Hist.: Collier’s, XVI, 539]
Catacombs of St. Calixtus
in Rome, one of the largest of subterranean burial places, with eleven miles of galleries. [Ital. Hist.: Collier’s, IV, 458]
former monastery in central Spain; mausoleum of Spanish sovereigns. [Span. Hist.: NCE, 890]
Flanders Field
immortalized in poem; cemetery for WWI dead. [Eur. Hist.: Jameson, 176]
site of Civil War battle; cemetery for war dead. [Am. Culture: EB, IV: 515]
God’s Acre
Moravian graveyard in Winston-Salem, N.C., with 3,000 identical marble markers. [Am. Hist.: Collier’s, XIX, 471]
Grant’s Tomb
New York City burial place of General Ulysses S. Grant. [Am. Culture: EB, IV: 680]
Great Pyramid of Cheops
enormous Egyptian royal tomb. [World Hist.: Wallechinsky, 255]
Holy Sepulcher Jerusalem
cave where body of Jesus is said to have lain. [Christ. Tradition: Brewer Dictionary, 814]
cave where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob are buried. [O.T.: Genesis 23:19, 25:9, 49:30, 50:13]
potter’s field
burial ground purchased with Judas’s betrayal money. [N.T.: Matthew 27:6–8]
Stoke Poges
village whose churchyard is thought to be the scene of Gray’s “Elegy.” [Br. Lit.: Benét, 966]
Taj Mahal
fabulous tomb built by Shah Jahan for wife. [Ind. Hist.: Wallechinsky, 317]
Tomb of Mausolus
Queen Artemisia’s spectacular memorial to husband. [World Hist.: Wallechinsky, 256]
Tomb of the Unknowns
in Arlington National Cemetery; commemorates nameless war dead. [Am. Hist.: Brewer Dictionary, 1118]
Westminster Abbey
abbey filled with tombs and memorials of famous British subjects. [Br. Hist.: EB, X: 632–633]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
"There is a Hindu crematorium and Christian cemetery beside the burial ground in St Inez.
The pub company has since gone on to make a further application to build a 339 square metre shop on top of the former burial ground, which the pub has been using as a car park next to homes in nearby Plough Court.
Kelly said burial ground workers removed items from all graves before a tractor mowed the grass, leaving them all in a bin behind a gate.
The new burial ground opens its doors to business from July 1, with the ceremonial buildings expected to be finished by January.
Rather than emulating the actual burial ground, the show garden will mimic the ground's garden where friends, relatives and anyone in the community can go for peace and reflection.
Miriam Defensor-Santiago creating a separate crime for the robbery of cemetery items or those committed in cemeteries, graveyards or burial grounds.
A paranormal detection agency was called in to carry out tests and found that an ancient burial ground or settlement could have been disturbed.
It continues: "For some reason town tradition holds that this spot was an Indian burial ground. It seems rather unlikely that English settlers would have chosen an Indian burial ground for their own.
The burial ground, developed by Monmouth-based company Native Woodland, centres on land at St Nicholas.
The 14-hectare Natural Burial Ground in the Green Belt between Greasby, Frankby and Irby met with fierce opposition from local residents.
Burial grounds enter into one of five categories, depending on their size.
But the main aim of the excavation was to uncover the boundary of a 17th century Quaker burial ground which existed on the site almost 200 years before the development of the Victorian cemetery.