Cremation Urn Vaults

In February 2014, reported that dozens of coffin-shaped holes appeared in a graveyard. The sinkholes opened above unmarked graves at Gravesend Cemetery in Kent, United Kingdom, after weeks of torrential rains.

The unpleasant sight posed a tremendous dilemma to cemetery administrators. How could the graves be saved, and how could visitors be kept safe? Many of the graves were older, and had been dug deeper than newer gravesites. The lack of structural reinforcement along with the effect of extreme weather conditions created a phenomenon not seen before by cemetery administrators.

While scenes like these are uncommon, being taught that it’s disrespectful to walk on top of a marked grave is very common. It turns out this attitude of being respectful had little to do with honoring the resting place of Grandpa Joe, but rather to help protect the grave site from collapsing. There has always been some concern about protecting a site. And today, with cemetery grounds equipment weighing up to 25,000 pounds, it’s understandable that cemeteries would take additional measures to strengthen the structural integrity of a grave to help prevent what happened at Gravesend Cemetery.

But what can be done?

History of Vaults

In the 18th century, a common practice was to bury loved ones with jewelry and other valuables. This led to a rise in grave robbing. Graves were desecrated and contents inside coffins were stolen. To quell this disturbing trend, burial vaults were made to enclose a coffin, protect valuables and clothing, and to protect the deceased as well. Made of wood initially, an unintended benefit of a grave vault was that they prevented the earth from collapsing around a gravesite. 

Thus, the grave vault industry was launched, and the burial vault has evolved into cremation urn vaults.

What to Know About Cremation Urn Vaults

Cremation urn vaults house an urn. Many cemeteries require a cremation vault if an urn is to be buried.

Cremation urn vaults are:

  • made from durable material such as concrete, plastic, cultured marble and even stainless steel
  • designed to protect the contents from moisture seepage and other elements
  • durable and protect the urn that is placed inside the vault from the weight of the earth for many generations.

Equally important is to recognize that cremation urn vaults help to provide structural integrity to the gravesite, particularly in low laying areas with low water tables. This helps prevent sinkholes, such as those that occurred at Gravesend Cemetery in England.

To know if a vault is required at your particular cemetery, it’s best to speak to the cemetery administrator for specifications.

Customized Cremation Urn Vaults

When shopping for cremation urn vaults, there are a few things to consider:

  • the size you need
  • preferred style
  • material used, and
  • the cost.

Cremation vaults come in different shapes and sizes. Keep in mind that an urn will be placed inside the vault and sealed. Therefore, what would make it specialized for your needs? Companion urn vaults, for example, are intended for use by spouses or partners. The vault is large enough to contain two adult-sized urns. Smaller vaults are available to contain a child’s urn or pet urn. Each is designed to provide comfort to the bereaved and assurance that a loved one will rest in peace.

One of the more comforting features of an urn vault is that a small amount of customization is possible. Etchings and engravings, appliqués, photos and even the inner lining of the vault can be added. For more information about this feature, consult with OneWorld Memorials for special orders.

Another comforting feature is that these cremation burial vaults contain enough room to insert small mementos, such as photos, a wedding ring or other meaningful items that you or a loved one may wish to be laid to rest with.

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