Urn, Funeral

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Urn, Funeral

 

(also cinerary urn), a ceramic, stone, or, more rarely, metal vessel for the cremated remains of the dead.

Funeral urns have been used by most peoples; they were first used by many tribes during the Aeneolithic and were widespread among the ancient Greeks, Romans, Slavs, and other peoples. Usually, everyday vessels or similar such vessels were used as funeral urns. Face urns, with schematic representations of human faces on the neck or lid, appeared at the end of the third millennium B.C. Sometimes funeral urns were in the shape of a dwelling (for example, the urns of the Villanovan culture in northern Italy at the beginning of the first millennium B.C.) or of a human figure (among the Etruscans). The urns were often placed in flat graves, without mounds (for example, the Urnfield culture). In ancient Rome, urns containing the ashes of ancestors were kept in the homes of relatives or descendants or in columbaria.

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