Burial of the dead is the act of placing the corpse of a deceased person in a tomb constructed for that purpose or in a grave dug into the earth. Archaeological excavations have revealed Neanderthal graves dating back 130,000 years, marking burial as among the earliest human activities. Grave goods with the corpse suggest proper burial associated with an afterlife.

More about: Burial


  • c. 6000 BCE
    Burial of the dead in Egypt.
  • c. 6000 BCE
    Earliest Egyptian mastabas dug at Saqqara.
  • c. 5000 BCE
    Evidence of burial in Sumer.
  • c. 5000 BCE
    Dead buried with grave goods at Banpo Village, China.
  • 4300 BCE
    First megalithic tombs in Europe.
  • c. 4000 BCE
    Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery begins in Sligo, Ireland.
  • c. 3300 BCE
    Early Harappan Civilization of India practices burial of the dead.
  • 3300 BCE
    Newgrange Burial Mound constructed in Ireland.
  • 3000 BCE
    Stone tombs on Crete.
  • 3000 BCE
    Tomb of the Eagles created in Scotland.
  • c. 3000 BCE - c. 2800 BCE
    Maeshowe Passage Grave completed in Scotland.
  • 3000 BCE - 2000 BCE
    First rock-cut burial chambers at Akrotiri.
  • c. 2800 BCE
    Later Harappan Civilization turns to cremation over burial.
  • c. 2600 BCE
    Mayan Culture buries their dead individually under homes.
  • c. 2600 BCE - c. 2000 BCE
    The Royal Graves of Ur used in Sumer.
  • c. 2560 BCE
    The Great Pyramid of Giza is constructed by Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops).
  • c. 1700 BCE - c. 1600 BCE
    First shaft graves constructed at Mycenae.
  • c. 1500 BCE - c. 1400 BCE
    First palace structure and Treasury of Atreus tomb built at Mycenae.
  • c. 1500 BCE
    First tholos tombs built at Mycenae.
  • c. 1100 BCE
    Greeks implement use of individual tombs and graves.
  • c. 700 BCE
    Tomb of Mayan King K'utz Chman of Retalhuleu constructed in Guatemala.
  • 500 BCE - 300 BCE
    Rich Scythian burials.