Important facts about Catacomb burials.

December 27, 2017

Catacomb burials are a thing of the past but have their place in history. If cremation wasn’t an option, catacombs were a practical burial solution. Modern tastes no longer see catacombs as a burial choice and today they are places of interest for tourists.

Catacomb burials – A quick Look

First level catacombs were anything from 30 to 50 feet below the surface. Made up of burial spaces known as loculi, they lined the many underground passages. These were the resting place of linen shrouded bodies. Shafts dug in the 4th century to the surface, allowed in light and air.

Places where the dead get buried have always come in many forms. The catacombs with their passages are actually like an underground city for the dead, and a perfect example of this is the city of Rome.

Catacomb burials 

San Callisto Catacomb burials 

One of the most famous is the San Callisto Catacomb, first excavated in the 2nd century. Covering an area of 15 hectares it has five levels with half a million tombs.

Catacomb burials in Malta

Catacombs were by no means only in Rome, and the custom of placing bodies in underground crypts or rock chambers goes way back. You’ll also find these structures in the Med such as in Malta and in Italy.

Saint Paul and Saint Agatha catacombs are the more well known in Malta. There are actually hundreds more, most of them in Citta Vecchia, a suburb of Malta. They are complex with many levels and had plenty of space for family burials.  Rituals and celebrations took place here too.

Catacomb burials – A solution for the Dead

The Romans never allowed burials within the city, and catacombs became the solution to the problem. Finding space to bury the dead was an issue even then.

Underneath the city of Rome and Malta, there is an amazing world of ritual and history. Today, mainly tourists visit them. What you see when you enter depends on the location and the time they were active.

Catacomb burials – A thing of the Past

In the 21st century we have modern ways to dispose of the dead, leaning more towards the eco-friendly route. If burial is not for you,, there are other above-ground options with mausoleums located in beautiful surroundings.

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All info was correct at time of publishing