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Above-Ground Burials: What You Need to Know June 13, 2024


One of the lesser known burial options available to families is what is known as above-ground burials. These are not a new option. In fact, above-ground burials trace their histories back hundreds and even thousands of years.
What exactly are above-ground burials, and how do they differ from in-ground burials? Why and where are they most popular, and why do families choose them? What are the benefits and drawbacks of above-ground burials and what else should you know?

What Are Above-Ground Burials?

Above-ground burials are exactly what they sound like. They serve as a final resting place for a body or remains. There are similarities to in-ground burials in that a body is often placed in a coffin and surrounded by concrete. The body is stored above the ground as opposed to below the surface.

Both above and in-ground burials provide a place where family members can visit and remember the departed. Both provide for marked resting places.

Why and Where are Above Ground Burials Popular?

Above-ground burials are a popular option in regions where the soil is sandy, soft, and the areas may be prone to flooding. New Orleans, perhaps, is one of the best example. Since the city is below sea level and prone to hurricanes and torrential flooding, above-ground burials are often chosen.

Above Ground Burial Terminology

Above-ground burial options vary in types, terminology, and even location. Here are some definitions and descriptions.


This is perhaps the oldest form of internment, where larger structures are able to intern many bodies. Mausoleums are available for the public or even for private families. They may be constructed on public or private land, depending on local laws.

Private Monument

A private monument is a structure that serves as an above-ground resting place for an individual. It serves as both a monument and a resting place where the remains of an individual are interred.

Private Mausoleums

This is a smaller mausoleum with above-ground burial space intended for members of a single family. Depending on local regulations, they may be located on public or private land.

Cemetery Mausoleums

This is a mausoleum that is usually owned, operated, and maintained by a cemetery or association. Like plots, burial spaces are owned by individuals and families.

The Crypt

A crypt is generally an older term used to describe a traditional mausoleum. Crypts are generally indoors or partially or entirely underground.

The Tomb

Tombs are often large and expensive in scope, and like crypts, may be all or partially underground.

The Vault (Sarcophagi)

This is a stone or concrete structure intended as an above-ground option. They are generally in the shape of a casket or coffin they contain and are among the least expensive above-ground burial options available.

Factors to Consider

Above-ground burial choices will often depend on financial considerations and personal choice. They are available for cremations and traditional internment.

When faced with an immediate need or in pre-planning your own final services, it can help to understand your options. Should you have questions or would like assistance, please contact us at Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes and Crematory. We have been proudly serving families in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas for over 125 years.

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