Hearts Through History Romance Writers

Love Beyond the Grave

Burial practices differ by region, by culture, and by religious beliefs. Some Vikings were buried in their boat. Important Egyptians were buried with their possessions. Hindus cremate their dead.

Last week I read an article that brought tears to my eyes. During an excavation in a Romanian monastery’s courtyard, archaeologists found a shocking burial. They estimated the burial to date back to about 1450-1455. The surprise was the burial’s occupant. A young couple were buried holding hands. The archaeologists think that the couple was buried facing each other.

The man had a badly broken hip which they think may have caused his death but the woman had no indications of any injury and wore a brass ring. That left the team to speculate that she died of a heart attack or, what they prefer, a broken heart.

Other burial practices include:

The Zoroastrians, an ancient tribe in Iran, believe that their dead should not pollute the earth. Each town has a Tower of Silence where they put their dead to face the elements and animals. When only the bones are left, they collect them and dissolve them in lye.  As a note, the Zoroastrians are believed to be the oldest religion, a precursor to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

The Australian tribes placed their dead in trees. Like the Zoroastrians, they give the dead to the weather and animals.

The Tibetan’s Sky Burial also left their dead to the weather and animals, specifically vultures. They encouraged the birds with food offerings in hopes that they birds would carry the dead off.

Prior to the plague, Europeans buried their dead in bogs. Over the years there has been much speculation about sacrifices and burial.

Sati, burning the widow, is an outlawed Hindu custom.

Italian Couple 6,000 Years Old

But the thought of loving couple buried together is something I never thought about. I thought the burial in Romania was an oddity. It seems there are others. A similar couple was found in Italy in 2007. There authorities said the remains were 6,000 years old. This couple was found with their arms and legs intertwined.

What a wonderful basis for a romance!


Burial Battleground

Things had come to a crisis in Victorian London.  What to do with all the bodies?

It had always been known that the occupation of grave digging held peculiar risks.  Generally an unhealthy lot, those performing the task faced increasing risk of accidently striking a coffin already buried while making room for a new one.  The gas released was so terribly noxious men had been known to fall dead on the spot as if they had been shot.  One Valentine Haycock was asked about his experience in these matters:

“When you have been digging yourself, have you felt yourself affected immediately?—Yes, I have been obliged to get up in the best way that I could, and I have been in such a tremble that I did not know whether I was going to die myself or not; I have gone indoors, and have sat a little time to recover myself.”

Things were getting worse.  Grave diggers were not the only ones who were struck down “beneath the breath of the dread king of terrors.”  Churchyards, historically the only places where one could be buried in London, were beginning to reek.  Clergymen were resigning their offices to seek work in country parishes, even at lower wages.  Doctors were advising their patients to “remove from the neighborhood of such places.”  Cholera and fevers among the living were most prevalent where the dead congregated the most.