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Cremation has been a part of the human death experience for a very long time. If you would like to understand more about the cremation process, we invite you read this section.
Traditional cremation is the process of reducing a body at very high temperatures until it is nothing but brittle, calcified bones. These are then processed into what we commonly call ashes. Returned to the family in a temporary urn (or a more personal urn selected by the family), these ashes can be kept, buried, or scattered. Some families even choose to place a loved one's cremated remains in a hand-crafted piece of cremation art.
Michelle Kim, in the online article, "How Cremation Works," details the cremation process. "In modern crematories, the body is stored in a cool, temperature-controlled room until it's approved for cremation. The body is prepared by removing pacemakers [...]. The body is then put into a container or casket made out of flammable materials such as plywood, pine or cardboard."
The container is placed in the retort or cremating chamber. It takes anywhere from two to three hours to reduce an average adult to ash. When the cremated remains are cooled, they are processed to a uniformly-sized pebble-like substance and placed in an urn. The funeral director then returns the cremated remains to the family.
For families wishing for a "green" burial of the ashes, urns made of salt, clay, or paper are available.