Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

How did six feet become the standard burial depth?

Hey, Matt:

How did six feet become the standard burial depth?

-- LB, Poway

Was it ever? Don't think so. S'mattera fact, there's no law in California or in most other states that says a grave has to be dug to a certain depth. California's Health and Safety Code requires that when the grave is filled in and brought up to ground level, there's at least 18 inches of dirt and turf over the top of the vault or casket. Most graves these days are dug with backhoes and can vary between four and five feet deep. Maybe eight or nine if the site will eventually hold two stacked coffins.

If you like gory reading, forget about Stephen King. Try a history of the mortuary industry. Until sometime in the 1800s, before the advent of metal coffins and burial vaults, bodies were sometimes haphazardly buried in shallow graves, since it was up to the families to dig them. After a few years, once the wood coffin and flesh started rotting, the gravesite would sink, and skulls and bones sometimes made unscheduled appearances. This is especially true in cold climates, where frozen ground expands and can cause unsightly upheavals. These same mortuary historians speculate that six feet might have been the depth that was considered safest if you didn't want your loved one popping up again at some future date.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Local teacher defends his profession

Pageantry of the classroom has been replaced by Zoom tiles

Hey, Matt:

How did six feet become the standard burial depth?

-- LB, Poway

Was it ever? Don't think so. S'mattera fact, there's no law in California or in most other states that says a grave has to be dug to a certain depth. California's Health and Safety Code requires that when the grave is filled in and brought up to ground level, there's at least 18 inches of dirt and turf over the top of the vault or casket. Most graves these days are dug with backhoes and can vary between four and five feet deep. Maybe eight or nine if the site will eventually hold two stacked coffins.

If you like gory reading, forget about Stephen King. Try a history of the mortuary industry. Until sometime in the 1800s, before the advent of metal coffins and burial vaults, bodies were sometimes haphazardly buried in shallow graves, since it was up to the families to dig them. After a few years, once the wood coffin and flesh started rotting, the gravesite would sink, and skulls and bones sometimes made unscheduled appearances. This is especially true in cold climates, where frozen ground expands and can cause unsightly upheavals. These same mortuary historians speculate that six feet might have been the depth that was considered safest if you didn't want your loved one popping up again at some future date.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Playboy.com rates SDSU worst party school in the nation after it narcs on Sturgis

NERDS!
Next Article

Rapper Chris “KILLcRey” Reyes transitions to Twitch for performance streaming

The Barrio Logan artist is depicted playing the Grand Theft Auto V and NBA 2K20 on his latest video
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close