June 22, 2024

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There’s a lot to consider when looking for either your or your loved one’s final resting place, to the point that it can be easy to get overwhelmed. The decision only becomes more complicated when you’re met with unfamiliar vernacular. One choice you may have to make is between entombment or interment. But what exactly do those terms mean? And what’s the difference between interment and entombment?


What Does Entombment Mean?

Generally speaking, entombment refers to when a decedent or their cremated remains are put in a specific location above ground rather than buried in the ground. The two main options when choosing entombment are mausoleums and columbariums, which are above-ground structures in cemeteries. If you choose to be entombed in a mausoleum, you will be buried in a casket in one of the mausoleum’s crypts. Meanwhile, if you choose to be cremated, you’ll be placed in an urn in a niche in a columbarium.


However, there are additional options when choosing entombment in a mausoleum or columbarium. In the case of community mausoleums or columbariums, you will be entombed with other individuals outside of your own family. However, some families choose to invest in a private or family mausoleum or columbarium. Private mausoleums or columbariums can be for just one family or even just one individual.


What Does Interment Mean?

The main difference between entombment and interment is that the former takes place above ground while the latter takes place below ground. When we talk about interment, we typically mean the process of burying a loved one or their cremated remains into the ground. If someone were to have been buried in a grave, you would say that they were interred. However, when an urn is buried rather than placed in a columbarium, you can also say that the urn was interred.


As cremation has become more popular, the traditional definition of interment has somewhat changed. You may hear interment referred to simply as your loved one’s final resting place, regardless of whether it’s above or below ground. But, traditionally, the definitions of entombment and interment differ based on where your loved one is buried.


It’s also worth noting that you may also sometimes hear the term inurnment, which can be confused with interment. But inurnment simply means that your loved one was cremated, with their cremains being placed inside of an urn. Someone can be both inurned and entombed in a columbarium or inurned and interred in a cemetery plot.


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