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I find this statement both sickening and hard to believe.
"One notable example of a person who underwent excarnation following death was Christopher Columbus."
Following death, one of the greatest explorers of the western world would have been sent to some Spanish butchery which undressed him and carefully sliced off all the flesh of this old man? Honestly, it sounds like a baseless, grotesque urban legend.
- Agree about the lack of sources and references. But I don't get the remarks about a Spanish butcher. Nothing in this (assuredly unreferenced) article says that Europeans "butchered" the flesh from corpses. It doesn't seem unreasonable or particularly grotesque that in the days when travel took months and there was no means of preserving a corpse, and if the deceased had expressed a wish to be buried in his native soil (or his loved ones so wished it), only the non-perishable portions of the body would be conveyed. I have no knowledge of how that might be accomplished. Cynwolfe (talk) 14:38, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
According to Sprague (2005, p. 28), excarnation can also involve (or imply): (a) Burial/later disinterment (b) Exposure to air (c) Fermentation in pots (d) Exposure to animals (e) Mechanical defleshing (or the "butchering" mentioned above) (f) Cremation (g) Chemical decomposition (Source: Sprague, R. (2005). Burial terminology: A guide for researchers. Lanham, Md: AltaMira Press). Incidentally, Sprague suggests that the term "excarnation" should be avoided. Ivan Marinov (talk) 12:19, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
No Iron Age burials in Europe?
This is so manifestly untrue I can't imagine how it was ever asserted:
"the lack of known burials in the European Iron Age"
Um, no Hallstatt burial mounds? No Etruscan tombs? No burials among the early Greeks and Romans (and other Italic peoples)? Nothing on the Iberian peninsula (hint: "Tartessians")? There are Bronze Age burials in Europe, let alone Iron Age, even if by "European Iron Age" one means only "Celtica". Cynwolfe (talk) 14:47, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
Middle Eastern cultures?
I seem to remember from anthro class that historic Middle Eastern cultures (circa BCE 2500 to CE 500), who generally used excavated stone tombs, would allow the body to slowly decay within a shroud and then, some years later, reverently place the remaining bones within a stone burial box or within a small niche in the family tomb. See Ossuary/secondary burial. A similar method was used with skeletons in Mediterranean countries (including Rome/Italy), but the bones were disassociated from one another and stacked in underground chambers. This would be important in the article, I would think. Does anyone have any sources to confirm? GwenW (talk) 10:08, 4 June 2009 (UTC)